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Edited by Frank H. Severance 





Vice-President HON. HENRY W. HILL 

Secretary-Treasurer FRANK H. SEVERANCE 


Hon. Henry W. Hill, 
J. N. Larned, 

Term expiring January, 1910. 

Henry R. Howland, 
Charles R. Wilson, 


Andrew Langdon, 
Frank H. Severance, 

Term expiring January, jqii. 

James Sweeney, 
George A. Stringer, 
Ogden P. Letchworth. 

Albert H. Briggs, M. D. 
R. R. Hefford, 

Term expiring January, 1913. 

Lee H. Smith, M. D. 
Willis O. Chapin, 
Loran L. Lewis, Jr. 

Term expiring January, 1913. 

Robert W. Day, Henry A. Richmond, 

Hugh Kennedy, Charles W. Goodyear, 

G. Barrett Rich. 

The Mayor of Buffalo, the Corporation Counsel, the Comptroller, Superin- 
tendent of Education, President of the Board of Park Commissioners, and 
President of the Common Council, are also ex-ofRcio members of the Board of 
Managers of the Buffalo Historical Society. 




♦Millard Fillmore, 1862 to 1867 

♦Henry W. Rogers, . . 1868 

♦Rev. Albert T. Chester, D. D., 1869 

*Orsamus H. Marshall, 1870 

♦Hon. Nathan K. Hall, 1871 

♦William H. Greene, 1872 

♦Orlando Allen, 1873 

♦Oliver G. Steele, 1874 

♦Hon. James Sheldon, 1875 and 1886 

♦William C. Bryant, 1876 

♦Capt. E. P. Dorr, 1877 

Hon. William P. Letch worth, 1878 

William H. H. Newman, 1879 and 18S5 

♦Hon. Elias S. Hawley, 18S0 

♦Hon. James M. Smith, 1881 

♦William Hodge, 18S2 

♦William Dana Fobes, 1S83 and 1884 

♦Emmor Haines 1887 

♦James Tillinchast 1888 

♦William K. Allen, 18S9 

♦George S. Hazard, 1890 and 1892 

♦Joseph C. Greene, M. D., 1891 

♦Julius H. Dawes, 1893 

Andrew Lang-don, 1894 to 1909 

* Deceased. 




The principal group of papers in the following p^ges, dealing 
with the various phases of New York State's undertaking to recon- 
struct and enlarge her artificial waterways, are printed in fulfilment 
of the pledge made in the previous volume of this series. (Buf. 
Hist. Soc. Publications, XII, xii.) While in a sense these papers 
supplement Senator Hill's history of canal construction, they are 
in themselves a most valuable collection of monographs by experts 
in various phases of the transportation and construction problems. 
The Buffalo Historical Society appreciates the distinction given to 
its publications, by the generous cooperation of such capable and 
practical economists and engineers as Mr. Frank S. Gardner, Mr. 
Gustav H. Schwab, Mr. Henry B. Hebert, Major General Francis 
V. Greene, Colonel Thomas W. Symons, and others whose con- 
tributions give peculiar value to this volume. 

In printing (pp. 197-208) the second report of the Western 
Inland Lock Navigation Company, we add a document of the 
highest value, in relation to the pioneer canal projects of our State, 
to others bearing on the same subject already included in this 
scries. For the first report of this company, the reader is referred 
to Vol. II, Buffalo Historical Society Publications. In Vol. XII, 
Senator Hill has sketched the history of the early inland navigation 
companies. When a full history of their enterprises is written, the 
historian will find much useful data in the unpublished Schuyler 
papers in the Lenox Library. This source of early material for 
New York's canal history, was pointed out, with some detail, in 
the Introduction of the preceding volume of this series. A few 
documents, bearing on the subject, are in the possession of the 
Buffalo Historical Society. 

For example, one aspect of the difficulties encountered by the 
first canal builders of our State is shown by the following, the 
original of which is among the Porteous papers in the archives of 
this society: 


The President and Directors of the IV. I. L. L>N. Compy in the 
State of New York, 

To John Porteous Dr. 

1793- To 312 Rods of Log & Worm fence entirely burnt up 
and destroyed by the Companys men cost 40 cents 
a rod, is $124.80 

To damage in laying the ground open & useless as a 
pasture during the work thro' this inclosure 3 
years 37.50 

To damage of another inclosure broke down & ex- 
posed to cattle & sheep 1 year which destroyed a 
number of young imported fruit trees 40.00 

To firewood used by the men during the last two 
— years , 15.00 

Worthy of preservation in this connection is the following letter 
from Philip Schuyler, president of the Western Inland Lock Navi- 
gation Company, to George Huntington, contractor, at Rome. It 
is here printed from the original in the collections of this society : 

New York Friday May 20th, 1803 
Dear Sir Yesterday, a meeting of the board of directors, of 
the Western canal company, was convened. I believe, the Gentle- 
men who compose the present board, are convinced, from the ex- 
planations made to them, that it would have better comported with 
the interest of the company, if our operations in the present year 
had been directed to the locking of Wood Creek, in all its extent, 
instead of renewing two of the locks, at the falls. 

The board of directors, has authorized me to request of you, 
to be so good, as to compleat the intended improvements in Wood 
Creek, between the third lock, erected last year, and the lock at 
Rome. Whether the deepening of the creek, in all the intermediate 
distance, or laying the lock which was prepared last year, and only 
removing the sand, collected in the creek, at the tail of the lock 
at Rome, will be the most eligible, I beg leave to submit to your 
discretion, and decision, and if you will, as I hope you will, take 
charge of, superintend, and direct this improvement, then to do it 
in either mode, which you shall judge most advantageous, to fa- 
cilitate the navigation of that part of the Creek — to engage such 
carpenters, other mechanics and labourers, as you may deem requis- 
ite, to stipulate the compensation to be made to the workmen of 
every discription, to purchase all the requisite materials for the 
work, to apply to Mr. Bleecker for such articles as cannot be pro- 
cured at Rome, or in its vicinity, and to draw on him for what 
money you may want for these operations. 

1. This additional " L " frequently occurs in the old accounts and letters, and 
sometimes the form "Western Inland Lock and Lake Navigation Co." 


You are well aware how indispensable I deem it that an agent, 
superintending a work, and in whose ability, integrity, exertions' 
and judgment full reliance can be placed, should not be embar- 
rassed in his operations by restricted and detailed directions, I 
therefore close the subject with entreating you to pursue sucb 
measures as you shall deem most conducive to accomplish the ob- 
ject now solicited of you and without applying for directions on 
any incidents which may arise in the prosecution. 

If the house, at the Oak Orchard, should be uninhabited, I ap- 
prehend it may be much injured and perhaps exposed to conflagra- 
tion, if fire be left in it by careless or malignant boatmen. I beg 
you therefore to place some discreet person in it, if none is already 
there, and if none can be obtained without a moderate pecuniary 
compensation, to agree for that. 

The board of director have also determined that the committee 
at Albany should cause a survey of the Mohawk river to be made 
and the levels taken, to ascertain the rise of every rapid between 
Schenectady and Rome, and as Mr. Wright has executed what was 
enjoined him in the last year with such perfect propriety as to 
afford great satisfaction, an application will probably be made to 
him by the Committee, to perform the required survey, as soon as 
the paucity of the water in the Mohawk shall render it proper to 
commence the surveys; be pleased to mention this to Mr. Wright 
and if he thinks he can then attend to it I wish him to advise the 
committee thereof. 

If proper stone and lime for the construction of locks in Wood 
Creek could be obtained from Fish Creek, either by land or water 
conveyance, unless at a very extra expense, I should if I had any 
agency in the business decide in favor of stone in preference to 
wood. Will you be so good as to make the necessary enquiries 
relative to this subject and advise me of their result, and be pleased 
to extend your enquiries to learn if proper stone is to be found 
on the banks of the Oneida lake, or at a moderate distance from 
its shores or on the islands, should any be there, the expence of 
transportation would be greatly reduced, as vessels of extensive 
burthen might be constructed for its conveyance. 

Intreat Mrs. Huntington and Mrs. Moore to participate with 
you in my respects and best wishes. 

I am Dear Sir with great regard and esteem, 
Your Obedient Servant 

President of the board of Directors of the W. I. L. L. N. 
Company in the State of New York. 

To George Huntington Esq. [at Rome]. 

Among the papers in the possession of the Buffalo Historical 
Society, relating to this subject, are account books, with record 
of corn, bran, peas, flour, etc., supplied "for the Western canal, 
1/93" apparently by Phyn & Ellice. merchants of Schenectady; also 
a toll book of the Western Inland Lock Navigation Co., with 
record of cash receipts for tolls, in passing the locks at Little Falls, 


Nov. 17, 1795, to Apr. 16, 1796. It is worthy of note that accord- 
ing to this record, boats passed to and fro during December. Des- 
tinations are indicated in entries like the following: 

£ s d. 

Boat to Geneva with full load — 18 — 

" from Kingston, Upper Canada, & 1 load — 9 — 

Large boat to Ft. Stanwix & 4>< ton of goods on board 286 
Boat to Niagara, got dam [aged] in the lock on Sunday 

last, free o o 

Three empty boats from Geneva — 13 6 

Most q£ the boats hailed from or passed to Mohawk-valley 
points, but the frequent entries of boats from Geneva, Niagara and 
Kingston, Upper Canada, enables one to realize the wide reach of 
this primitive canal traffic. Miscellaneous minor data like the 
above might be multiplied; but the most valuable — and for most 
students, no doubt, the entirely adequate — history of the inland lock 
enterprise, is embodied in the Reports of 1796 and 1798. 

The Canal Memorial of 1816, referred to in Vol. XII, is here 
printed in full. Its importance in the canal history of the State 
makes its inclusion in our series desirable; especially as in con- 
nection with it was begun in Buffalo, the first canal movement of 
Western New York, as set forth on pp. 211-213. 

In connection with the historical sketch of the Buffalo Board 
of Trade, the editor regrets that data were not at hand for a more 
adequate sketch of its founder, Russell H. Heywood, than is pre- 
sented in the following pages. The facts there given may be sup- 
plemented by the following correspondence, preserved by this so- 
ciety : 

Office of the Buffalo & New York City Rail Road 
Buffalo, August 18th, 1852. 
Dear Sir — You are invited to atiend the Celebration of the com- 
pletion of the High Bridge across the Genesee River at Portage, 
and opening of the Road from Attica to Hornellsville. on Wednes- 
day, the 25th inst., at Portage. 

Yours, Respectfully, 

Russell H. Heywood, President. 

[To R. M. Magraw, President, 

Baltimore & Susquehannah Railroad Co., Baltimore.] 

introduction. xi 

Office Baltimore & Susquehannah Co., 
Baltimore, August 23rd, 1852. 
Russell H. Heywood, Esq., 

Pres. B. & N. Y. C. Co., 

Dear Sir: I am in receipt of your most esteemed favor of the 
18th inst., being an invitation to attend the celebration of the comple- 
tion of the High Bridge across the Genesee river at Portage, and the 
opening of your road from Attica to Hornellsville on the 25th inst. 
I have watched with interest the progress of your work, particu- 
larly the erection of the bridge over the Genesee river at Portage, 
which may truly be regarded as a work of the age and one which, 
in an eminent degree, reflects credit on the minds that conceived 
as well as the hand which executed the work. The completion 
of your road will give th£ New York and Erie Railroad a proper 
terminus on the lake. Buffalo has been, is now, and always will be, 
the "City of the Lakes," and it is therefore in my opinion essential 
to the future success of that great work that it should have an un- 
broken connection with that city and which is now secured through 
the completion of your road. But permit me to say that this is not 
the only important feature in the location of your road. A glance 
at the map will exhibit it as the northern link in the chain of rail- 
way connecting the National Capital with Buffalo, the Northwest 
and the British Possessions, a work essentially national in its char- 
acter. Commencing at the seat of Government, dividing by a direct 
line the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York, and ter- 
minating at the Canadas, covering a distance that can easily be over- 
come in a single day. To perfect this great work only 150 miles 
remain to be finished — that section is between Harrisburgh and a 
connection with your road. The friends of this Southern link of 
this chain, between Baltimore and Harrisburgh, are taking steps 
to have the line between Harrisburgh and Williamsport put under 
contract. The section between Williamsport and the New York & 
Erie Railroad remaining unprovided with the means requisite for 
its construction. 

I regret that an official engagement previously made will pre- 
vent me from being present on so interesting an occasion as the 
celebration of the opening of your road. Tendering my thanks 
for your polite invitation 

I am yours most respectfully, 


As often happens to public-spirited promoters of enterprises, 
ultimately of great benefit to the region in which they operate, 
Mr. Heywood profited nothing by his share in this railroad build- 
ing. On the contrary', he l° st a fortune in it. The corporate title 
of the "Buffalo & Hornellsville," as it was locally known, was the 
Buffalo & New York City Railroad. It included the "Buffalo & 
Rochester" line, from Buffalo to Attica, 32 miles, and from Attica 
to Hornellsville, about 59 miles. These lines, after various changes, 
were merged in the Erie system. The bridge, the opening of which 


occasioned the above correspondence, was the famous wooden trestle, 
a network of bents and trusses begun July i, 1851, and crossed by 
a train for the first time Aug. 14, 1852. It was 800 feet long, 234 
feet high, and was destroyed by fire in 1875. 

In the "Reminiscences of Erie Canal Surveys in 1816-17," by 
Wm. C. Young, and the group of papers that follow, are presented 
many facts bearing on the general subject of this volume; and 
although some of them are of minor importance, it is believed that 
their variety will add interest, as their facts add value, to our col- 

It is matter of regret that the Hon. George Ointon has been 
unable to prepare for the present collection a paper dealing with 
his own participation in canal matters. For many years he was 
foremost among the citizens of Buffalo as an advocate of canal 
enlargement. Elected to the State Assembly in 1883, he was made 
chairman of the Assembly canal committee. He introduced and 
secured the passage of the bill providing for the doubling in length 
of lock 51 of the Erie canal, allowing two boats to pass at once. 
This work, experimental in nature, proved satisfactory and led to 
the subsequent similar improvement of locks throughout the canal 
system of the State; securing, it is stated, a gain to commerce of 
a reduction in the cost of canal freightage by about 40 per cent. 
This legislation also led to the forming of the organization for 
canal improvement, of which the Hon. Horatio Seymour was the 
first president, and Mr. Clinton his successor in 18S5. For ex- 
tended notice of Mr. Clinton's participation in many phases of work 
for the betterment and preservation of New York's canals, the 
reader is referred to Senator Hill's narrative, Vol. XII of this series: 
and to numerous passages in the present volume, as shown by the 

In presenting Mr. Clinton's portrait as frontispiece for this 
volume, the Historical Society merely indicates in slight measure 
(lie distinction which is his, among many and varied public services, 
for his long and successful advocacy of canal and harbor improve- 
ment. His illustrious grandfather, DeWitt Clinton, more than any 
other one man, virtually created New York's canal system; and 
no man in his day has done more to promote the welfare of that 
system, and thereby, in the view of canal advocates, to promote the 
well-being of the State, than the Honorable George Clinton. 


It is obviously impossible, in these volumes, to present in cx- 
tenso, every aspect of our canal history; nor is that our under- 
taking. The present purpose is to supplement Senator Hill's com- 
prehensive history (Vol. XII) with relevant material, deemed use- 
ful to the student, worthy of preservation, and for the most part 
heretofore unpublished. It is also the desire of the Historical So- 
ciety to make proper recognition of the services of the many men 
of Western New York, who have aided, especially in the Legis- 
lature, to promote measures in the interest of the canals. This 
recognition, to a large extent, has been admirably made iifthe 
preceding volume. One friend of the canals, whose services should 
always be gratefully remembered, and appreciatively recorded, is the 
Hon. Robert C. Titus. His speech in the State Senate, March 29, 
1882, in favor of the free canal amendment to the Constitution, may 
fairly be regarded as marking a new epoch in the policy of the 
State. So, too, the labors of the Hon. Israel T. Hatch, in Congress, 
and elsewhere, soon after the Civil War, won distinction for "him 
at the time, and entitle him to a place by no means obscure in the 
history of this subject. So large is this field that the limits of the 
present volume are reached before many phases of our general sub- 
ject have been presented. A succeeding volume will, therefore, be 
devoted, at least in part, to papers and documents relating to New 
York State's waterways. 

That volume — No. XIV of our series — is now in press. It will 
open with the correspondence that passed between Joseph Ellicott, 
agent for the Holland Land Company in Western New York, and 
Paul Busti, the company's general agent for America; Governor 
DeWitt Clinton, Simeon DeWitt, State surveyor, and others, rela- 
tive to canal construction in Western New York. These letters are 
drawn chiefly from the large collection of Holland Land Co. papers 
owned by the Buffalo Historical. Society. As yet unpublished, they 
will be found to contain a wealth of interesting material, of first- 
rate importance in Western New York history. To them will be 
added journals of early travel, by canal and otherwise, and miscel- 
laneous data of undoubted value. 

Volumes XII. XIII and XIV of our series, taken together, will 
be found to constitute an unequaled collection of historical material, 
relating to New York State waterways and allied topics. 

F. H. S. 




Officers of the Society iii 

List of Presidents of the Society iv 

Introduction vii 


Frank S. Gardner I 

AND 1901 12 

OF THE STATE'S WATERWAYS . . . *~r°». . . . 

Gustav 11. ScJnvab 35 

Gen. Francis Vinton Greene 109 



Col. Thomas W. Symons 121 


Hon. John D. Keman 135 


George H. Raymond 157 

Howard J. Smith 181 








Frank H. Severance 

I. Beginnings of Commercial Union in Buffalo 237 

II. Btrth of the Board of Trade 242 

III. The Business Situation in the '40's 252 

IV. An Early Triumph — The St. Clair Flats 

Canal 258 

V. Incorporation — A New Beginning 262 

VI. On Central Wharf 266 

VII. The Board of Trade Adopts a Regiment ... 271 

VIII. The Financial Side 279 

IX. The Move Up- Town — The Merchants' Ex- 
change 2S5 

X. Miscellaneous Work — Some of the Workers 295 

XL Buffalo and the Canal 303 

XII. The Grade Crossings Campaign 308 

XIII. Relations with other Organizations 311 

XIV. The Chamber of Commerce 324 


1817 William C. Young 331 

Secret History of Incipient Legislation for the Erie 

Canai F. C. White 349 

CANVASS WHITE'S SERVICES . . . /. Pierrepont White 353 

The White Memorial Tablet 364 


WALKER George Alfred Stringer 367 


George Alfred Stringer 371 


TRADE Hon. Lewis F. Allen 377 


L. Porter Smith 381 


Black Rock Invited to Buffalo 3$5 

A Celebration Contract 3^ 

How Buffalo Dug the Canal . . . .William Flodgc 3S7 

A Lost Work of Art R. W. Haskxns 390 

The Erie Canal Gun-Telegraph . . . Orlando Allen 392 




"Bronze Work in Art and History": Presentation of 


Forty-sixth annual meeting, Jan. 14, 1908 403 

INDEX 415 


Portrait, George Clinton Frontispiece 

Portrait, Gustav H. Schwab Op. p. 35 

Portrait, Henry B. Hebert " 77 

Portrait, Mat. -Gen. Francis V. Greene . " 109 

Portrait. Russell H. Heywood " 243 

Central Wharf, Buffalo " 267 

Portrait, William C. Young " 333 

Model, "Chief Engineer of Rome" 345 

Portrait, Canvass White " 353 

Tablet to Wm. C. Young and Canvass White .... 365 

Portrait, Elmore H. Walker " 367 

Portrait, George S. Hazard " 373 

The Harbor of Buffalo in 1827 " 377 

Invitation Card, Opening of the Erie Canal .... 385 

North Entrance, Buffalo Historical Society Building " 397 






TIONS OF 1899, 1900 AND 1901 


Secretary of the Canal Improvement Union; Secretary New York Board 
of Trade and Transportation; etc.. etc. 

The period when the competition of rival routes and 
ports, and the improvement of railroad transportation forced 
upon the people of New York the conviction that the tolls 
upon the canals would have to be reduced, was from 1870 
to 1879. The tolls had theretofore produced a revenue of 
many millions of dollars in excess of the cost of construc- 
tion and maintenance. 

The pressure of the competition of rival ports and the 
hostile rivalry of the railroads paralleling the canal caused 
the low toll movement irresistibly to become a movement for 
free canals. West bound tolls were abolished and on Janu- 
ary 1, 1883, all tolls were abolished by a vote of the people 
of the State, the expenses of maintenance and repairs there- 
after to be paid by taxation. The interesting and instructive 
story of the years of agitation in which the free canal idea 
gathered strength and finally conquered over sectional oppo- 
sition and jealousy cannot be narrated here. 

Freedom from tolls saved the canals, and preserved them 
as the chief reliance against the diversion of our trade. But 
it soon became apparent that the physical structures of the 


canals were antiquated and dilapidated, and the methods of 
transportation thereon such that unless radically improved 
water transportation within the State would soon cease to 
be a factor of any consequence in our commerce. 

In 1884, therefore, the New York Board of Trade and 
Transportation, apprehending with deep concern the decay 
of the canals, called a State convention which was held in 
the city of Utica in July, 1885, to consider what steps should 
be taken to secure the permanent improvement of the State's 

At this convention "The Union for the Improvement of 
the Canals of the State of New York" was organized, with 
former Governor Horatio Seymour of Utica as the presi- 
dent; Hon. Orlando B. Potter of New York as chairman of 
the permanent executive committee; William H. Webb of 
New York as treasurer; and Frank S. Gardner of New 
York as the permanent secretary. Governor Seymour died 
within the year after his election as president and was suc- 
ceeded by Hon. George Clinton of Buffalo, who was elected 
the president at the second convention of the Union, held in 
Syracuse in 1886. 

At the time the Canal Union was organized, the water- 
ways had come to be generally regarded as of little conse- 
quence and as having a rapidly diminishing influence upon 
transportation. Hence, they had comparatively few friends 
and many open enemies. The influence of the latter, sup- 
plemented by that of the railroads, was felt in the com- 
mercial bodies of the State. Even the chairman of the 
canal committee of one of the largest of these organizations 
was openly hostile to making any effort to secure improve- 
ments, declaring that the canals were things of the past 
and that the merchants would better make their peace with 
the railroads. 

Wiser counsel prevailed, however, and the Canal Im- 
provement Union gathered great strength, while iis agita- 
tion in behalf of the canals enlightened the public mind as 
to their true importance and increased their popularity. 

In 1887 the New York Tribune, in an article relating to 
the progress which the canal improvement idea had made in 


public favor, declared that "the Union for the Improvement 
of the Canals of the State of New York is the most power- 
ful and influential aggregation of commercial and manu- 
facturing interests within the State of New York." 

For ten years the Canal Improvement Union continued 
its persistent and effective agitation against the forces of 
destruction, including the trunk lines of railroads which had 
organized a bureau from which millions of printed anti- 
canal documents flowed in unceasing streams to all parts of 
the State. 

Nevertheless, such progress was made that the Legisla- 
ture passed laws each year carrying appropriations until 38 
of the 74 dilapidated locks were rebuilt and lengthened and 
many other repairs and improvements effected, the total 
State expenditure during the ten years being about two 
millions of dollars for extraordinary repairs over the cost 
of maintenance and ordinary repairs. 

The Canal Improvement Union having gathered such 
strength, its members were encouraged to make a final 
effort for what was then considered an improvement ade- 
quate to meet competition, and they sought through legisla- 
tion and the vote of the people what was thought to be an 
appropriation large enough to carry such measures into 
effect. This resulted in the passage of the law of 1895, 
known as the Nine Million Dollar Canal Act. 

The unfortunate mistakes which were made in connec- 
tion with the expenditure of the nine-million dollar canal 
improvement fund, which proved to be wholly inadequate to 
pay for the actual work under the plans which had been 
adopted, were most disastrous to the cause of canal im- 
provement. A revulsion of public sentiment caused by the 
seeming waste of a sum so large resulted in the abandon- 
ment of the improvements and threatened the total abandon- 
ment of the canals. 

Upon the passage of the Act of 1894 the Canal Improve- 
ment Union, believing its work accomplished, discontinued 
its annual conventions, and trusting too much in the capacity 
and wisdom of the State officials in charge of the work, was 
practically disbanded. About three years later, when it 


became known that the nine millions of dollars had been 
exhausted and the improvement had failed, there wa 
central organized exponent body in this State to consider 
the situation and act in the emergency. 

In the fall of 1898, the New York Board of Trade and 
Transportation being impressed with the very great danger 
which threatened the perpetuity of the State canals, ap- 
pointed a special committee for the purpose of conferring 
with other organizations and with the friends of the canals 
throughout the State, with the object of reviving the canai 
improvement movement and, if deemed advisable, calling a 
State Canal Improvement Convention. 

During the winter of 1898-99 Mr. Wni. F. McConnell, 
representing the New York Board of Trade and Transpor- 
tation, was sent upon several tours through the State for 
the purpose of conferring with friends of the canals and 
again enlisting their active support and to secure their coop- 
eration in holding the proposed canal convention. This 
effort proved to be a total failure. Not a single man or 
organization could be found willing to again put forth any 
effort for the canals, and the general sentiment expressed 
was that they were doomed to early decay and abandonment. 
Referring to this subject the Committee on Canals of the 
Board of Trade and Transportation in a report to the Board 
June 13, 1900, said: 

"Emphatic opposition and discouragement was found everywhere. 
The old friends of the canal had lost heart, and many of them were 
openly opposed to any further attempt to save the canals. We were 
unable to secure a single promise from any organization or indi- 
vidual for cooperation in an attempt to revive the canal movement. 

"At that time the secretary of the Board suggested the calling 
of a state convention on the broader grounds of State commerce. 
He contended that State commerce embraced canal commerce; that 
the canal question would necessarily become prominent in any dis- 
cussion of State commerce and he predicted that the canal question 
would thereby be revived and possibly become the overshadowing 
topic in any representative gathering of the business men of this 
State. It was conceded everywhere that something must be done 
for our commerce, but no plan or policy had been formed, no meas- 
ure outlined. ... 


"Having in mind this suggestion on the 8th of February, 1899, 
this Board addressed a communication on the subject of canal im- 
provement to Governor Roosevelt, declaring that 'the time has come 
for radical measures if New York is to preserve her proper com- 
mercial question/ " 

On the same day, February 8, 1899, the Board of Trade 
and Transportation adopted the following resolutions 
which were sent to Governor Roosevelt with the letter re- 
ferred to, viz. : 

Resolved, That the New York Board of Trade and Transporta- 
tion respectfully directs the attention of the Governor and State 
Legislature, now in session, to the dangers that threaten the com- 
merce and supremacy of New York. Rival seaport cities and the 
Dominion of Canada are making herculean efforts to v/rest from us 
our trade and commerce by providing water and rail outlets from 
the great granaries of the west and northwest to the seaboard 
cheaper than those provided by New York's canals and railroads. 
This State has not kept pace with the gigantic strides of sister 
states, the Dominion of Canada and competing ports in the way of 
improving or enlarging our canals to meet the requirements upon 
them; neither has she provided cheapened terminal facilities to en- 
courage the exporting and importing business of the nation to seek 
our city for distribution on its way to and from the Old World and 
the interior of this vast country- 

Resolved, That the New York Board of Trade and Transporta- 
tion believes that the time has come for radical measures if New 
York is to preserve her proper commercial position. Railroad dis- 
criminations should be abolished ; elevator charges, wharfage ex- 
actions, port charges, and taxes on commerce of all kinds must be 
reduced immediately to a minimum. Unless these abuses on com- 
merce are corrected at once and our canals properly enlarged or 
improved without delay, it is certain that New York will soon be 
compelled to surrender her commercial supremacy to more active 
and far-sighted competitors. 

On the 8th day of March, 1899, one month after the 
Board had suggested to Governor Roosevelt that the time 
had come for taking "radical measures," he appointed "The 
Committee on Canals of New York State," otherwise known 
as '"'The Governor's Advisory Canal Committee," of which 
General Francis V. Greene was the chairman. 


On the same day that Governor Roosevelt appointed the 
Advisory Canal Committee, the New York Board of Trade 
and Transportation adopted the following- resolution on the 
motion of Mr. G. Waldo Smith, viz. : 

Resolved, That the President be requested to appoint a special 
committee of the members of this Board, with power to cooperate 
with committees of other organizations, and that the committee be 
directed to call a convention of representatives of organizations, 
cities, towns, etc., interested in preserving and promoting the com- 
merce of this State. That such convention be called to meet at such 
place and time during the current year as will best serve the ends 
in view, viz., that means be devised and steps taken to prevent the 
further diversion of our commerce and to secure the united influence 
of all interests in this State in behalf of such plans as may be de- 
cided upon as practicable. 

The late Wm. H. Parsons, then the president of the 
Board of Trade and Transportation, pursuant to these 
resolutions, appointed a committee of ten, the following 
nine of whom accepted and served, viz. : G. Waldo Smith, 
of Smith & Sills, grocers ; Ludwig Nissen, of Ludwig 
Nissen & Co., jewelers; John H. Washburn, vice-president 
Home Insurance Co. ; George E. Armstrong, secretary H. 
B. Oaf] in Co. ; F. B. Thurber, president U. S. Export 
Association; Dr. Samuel Adams Robinson; Win. E. 
Geary, president Erie Boatmen's Transportation Co. ; 
Patrick Farrelly, manager American News Co. ; J. Edgar 
Leaycraft, real estate. This committee after due delibera- 
tion formulated plans and issued the following "Preliminary 
Call" : 

New York, May, 1899. 

The New York Board of Trade and Transportation has ap- 
pointed a special committee with instructions to prepare for and call 
a "State Commerce Convention" to be held at some convenient city 
in the State during the present year. The time and place have not 
been definitely decided upon, but the present purpose is to call it 
about September 1st. 

The object of the convention is to consider deliberately all mat- 
ters relating to commerce and manufactures, and incidentally the 


laws and usages of business which now make for progress or hin- 
der it. 

In this category may be classed many practically distinct subjects 
which in their relation to commerce and manufactures have a most 
important influence upon our material prosperity. 

There are questions having a truly general interest for all sec- 
tions of the State, such as taxation, the laws of business corpora- 
tions, railroad transportation, canal transportation and forest preser- 

There are other questions which while in a sense local are so 
closely related to our commerce and industries as to be classed as 
general. Among these are terminal facilities and terminal charges, 
including elevation at Buffalo and New York, wharf charges, and 
other port charges which are a tax upon commerce; the improve- 
ment of the Staten Island and Port Morris water fronts, and the 
channels connected therewith, the improvement of the water front 
of the city of New York on Manhattan Island, the setting apart 
irrevocably of adequate accommodation for the boats that travel the 
State canals, and the needed improvements at lake ports in this 

Of these questions some are overshadowing, but all are of great 
importance not only to the principal cities, but to all the people of 
the State. 

Commerce was mainly the incentive that, first peopled Manhattan 
Island with white men. Commerce has been the upbuilding of the 
city and State of New York, and commerce today maintains their 
supremacy in population and wealth. Commerce and manufactures, 
twin industries, give employment to capital and a livelihood to the 
industrious masses. Where they are brought, buildings increase in 
number, lands and buildings become valuable, and cities are made 
with their teaming population. 

Where cities exist and are prosperous, there are the markets for 
the products of garden and farm and the benefits of commercial and 
manufacturing activity are spread abroad. 

Commerce and manufactures should, therefore, be encouraged 
for the well-being of all the people. 

Hozu may commerce and manufactures be increased within the 
State of New York is the question for the State Commerce Conven- 
tion to consider. What means may be employed for the advance- 
ment of these great primary interests? 

The first practical step in that direction is to get together. No 
part of the State but is deeply interested in this question. Every 
part of the State should be represented. 


The second practical step follows, viz., discussion, the presenta- 
tion of needs, the statement of propositions, the suggestion of and 
agreement upon measures for a betterment of conditions. 

The third practical step is to unite the influence of all sections 
represented to secure from the Legislature the enactment of the 
measures which may be agreed upon. 

Such in essence is the object of the State Commerce Convention 
for which your support is solicited. 

The great and important results to the State of New York of 
such a gathering of the business men of the State cannot be over- 

It means much labor and persistent effort. It also means that a 
permanent State organization should be effected to carry' forward 
and promote the measures agreed upon. It means the continued 
cooperation of every local organization until this movement has 
made itself felt in the Legislative halls of the State, and until the 
business men of the State have made their impress upon the political 
parties by non-partisan action, or, if necessary, by independent or 
partisan action, and until the ends in view have been attained. 

Every city and village in the State should have a local Board of 
Trade or Business Men's Association. Such bodies lead to enter- 
prise and a betterment of local conditions and we urge the business 
men in all places that have no such association to organize at once. 

With this presentation, therefore, we invite your cooperation. 

We ask that you take into consideration at once the question of 
participating in this movement, and that you kindly inform the un- 
dersigned at the earliest day practicable if you will attend or send 
delegates to the State Commerce Convention. 

Each constituent body having 20 members and less than 100 may 
send one delegate. 

Having 100 and less than 200 — two delegates 
" 200 " 350 — three " 

350 " 500— four 

" more than 500 — five 

Mayors of all cities are invited to attend and where no organiza- 
tion exists or where the existing organization fails to send dele- 
gates may name three delegates from such city. 

Presidents of incorporated villages are invited to attend or ap- 
point one delegate. 

Boards of Supervisors in the counties in the State may appoint 
two delegates. 


All delegates must be provided with credentials from the organi- 
zation, Mayor, President, or Board appointing them. 
Requesting a reply at early date, 

Very respectfully, 

[Signed by the Committee.] 

All the important and many of the smaller newspapers of 
the State immediately published this preliminary call and the 
great interest in the convention was made apparent by the 
fact that seven different cities through their commercial 
bodies or officials, and in some instances both, sent invita- 
tions to the committee accompanied by arguments and ear- 
nest appeals to have the convention held in their places. 

Preliminaries having been determined, the committee 
finally issued the "official call." 1 

Having in special view the main object for which the 
convention was called, viz., to renew the discussion of the 
canal improvement question, the committee arranged the 
"Official Programme" so that this subject would have special 
prominence, and also secured in advance prominent men to 
make addresses on its various phases. 

The first State Commerce Convention met at Utica, and 
organized a permanent State Association, with Hon. John 
D. Kernan of Utica as president and Frank S. Gardner of 
New York as secretary. 2 

The influential bodies which were represented at these 
several conventions were located in every important section 
of the State. 

On September 5, 1899, the date on which the official call 
for the first convention was issued, and three and a half 
months after the issue of the preliminary call, the committee 
had been promised delegates from sixty-eight cities and 
incorporated villages, from seventy-eight commercial or- 
ganizations, and forty-one mayors and presidents of villages 
had promised to attend the convention. 

1. An abstract of the official call follows Mr. Gardner's paper. 

2. Abstracts of the proceedings of this convention, and of the second and 
third State Commerce Conventions, and of the action of the adjourned meeting 
of the convention, are appended to this paper. These abstracts give the reso- 
lutions adopted, and also the names of the officers and committees elected at 
each convention. 


A special invitation was sent to the Poughkeepsie Board 
of Trade because it was believed that the Hon. John I. Piatt 
of that organization would be the delegate. Mr. Piatt wrote 
that he had been appointed a delegate but, said he, "you do 
not want me because I will make trouble if I go." He was 
assured that he would be welcome, and furthermore was 
invited to make an address expressing his views in opposi- 
tion to the improvement of the canals. This invitation Mr. 
Piatt accepted, and he addressed the convention for over an 
hour. The abstract of the proceedings of this convention 
states that the report of the canal committee presented by 
Hon. George B. Sloan of Oswego "was adopted by the con- 
vention with one dissenting vote/' 

This result, attained in a large gathering of men from 
all parts of the State, brought together at such a time and 
without reference to their views, including several anti- 
canal sections, notably the city of Binghamton, which was 
represented by its Mayor and four delegates from the Board 
of Trade, was most gratifying. 

Upon a viva voce vote one single voice was heard in the 
negative on the adoption of the canal resolutions. When 
the chairman put the question a second time by a standing 
vote, the single dissenter did not rise, and Mr. John I. Piatt 
did not vote. 

The greatest enthusiasm over the canal question was im- 
mediately aroused throughout the State, and as had been 
anticipated it again became the most prominent State issue. 
So strongly was the influence felt at once that both of the 
great political parties were easily induced to place planks in 
their platforms which endorsed the improvement. 

The resolutions of the conventions as printed in the 
abstracts of the proceedings expressed the policy and wishes 
of the commercial interests of the State but they can give no 
conception of the labor involved in presenting them to the 
Legislature, in spreading them abroad among the people 
and in meeting and finally defeating the forces of the oppo- 
sition. The State Commerce Convention served the purpose 
for which it was called into existence, to revive the discus- 
sion of the canal improvement question at a time when it 


appeared to be a lost cause. It not only revived the discus- 
sion, but it brought to the support of the canals thousands 
of the most influential business men and politicians in the 

h is not practicable in this brief sketch to narrate in 
detail the interesting and important events which were at 
critical periods determining factors in the fight to preserve 
the canals. 

The names of the men who were most active in the work 
of the State Commerce Convention will be found in the 
abstracts of proceedings among the officers and especially 
on the State Committee and the Executive Committee. 



OF 1899, 1900, AND 1901 

The New York Board of Trade and Transportation issued the 
official call for a State Commerce convention, to be held at Utica, 
October io to 12, 1899. It set forth that the object of the conven- 
tion "is to consider deliberately all matters relating to commerce and 
manufactures in New York State and incidentally the laws and 
usages of business which now make for progress or hinder it." It 
provided for representation by delegates of all chambers of com- 
merce, boards of trade, business men's associations, and manufac- 
turers' associations, and all others whose members were interested 
in promoting commerce and manufacture in the State. The mayors 
of all cities were invited to attend and asked to appoint three dele- 
gates, each, in addition to such as were to be appointed by local or- 
ganizations ; also presidents of villages and the board of supervisors 
in every county of the State were invited to appoint delegates. 

The first day's programme was chiefly devoted to the great prob- 
lem "The State Canals, what shall be done with them?" taking up 
such questions as the need of canal terminal facilities, wharf charges, 
grain elevation, forest preservation as related to commerce, etc. The 
second day was devoted to railroad questions, and the third day to 
taxation as affecting commerce and manufactures. 

The preliminary arrangement! were strikingly well worked out, 
specifying the character of the debate, length of speeches, etc., in 
order that as much might be accomplished as possible within the 
specified time. 

This circular was signed by G. Waldo Smith, chairman of the 
committee of the New York Board of Trade and Transportation, 
and eight other members, with Mr. Frank S. Gardner as Secretary. 



Hon. George B. Sloan of Oswego was elected the temporary 
chairman; Hon. John D. Keman of Utica was elected the per- 
manent chairman. Mr. Frank S. Gardner of the New York Board of 
Trade and Transportation, Hon. John Cunneen of Buffalo, and Dr. 
A. H. Bayard of Cornwall were elected secretaries, and Mr. Russell 
H. Wicks of Utica was elected treasurer. 

The committee on credentials reported a roll of delegates duly 
appointed by and representing the following organizations, boards 
of supervisors, mayors of cities, and presidents of villages: 


New York Board of Trade and Transportation. 

New York Produce Exchange. 

Chamber of Commerce, Utica. 

Chamber of Commerce, Syracuse. 

Chamber of Commerce, Rochester. 

Buffalo Merchants' Exchange. 

Manufacturers' Association of New York (Brooklyn Borough). 

Merchants' Association of Catskill. 

New York Retail Grocers' Union. 

New York State Hardware Jobbers' Association. 

Binghamton Board of Trade. 

Oswego Board of Trade. 

Coxsackie Board of Trade. 

Retail Lumber Dealers' Association of the State of New York. 

Chamber of Commerce, Little Falls. 

Business Men's Association, Canastota. 

Business Men's Association, Cohoes. 

Business Men's Association, Auburn. 

Board of Trade, Cornwall. 

Business Men's Central Council, Buffalo. 

Lumber Trade Association, New York. 

New York State Canned Goods Packers' Association. 

Stationers' Board of Trade, New York. 

Maritime Association of the Port of New York. 

Paint, Oil and Varnish Club, New York. 

New York State Wholesale Grocers' Association. 

Wholesale Grocers of New York City and Vicinity. 

Canal Boat Owners' Association of the State of New York. 

Merchants and Manufacturers' Board of Trade, New York. 

New York Tax Reform Association. 


Board of Trade, Frankfort. 

Canal and Harbor Union, New York. 

Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. 

Wallabout Market Merchants' Association, Brooklyn. 

Business Men's Association, Lockport. 

Oswego Lumbermen's Exchange, Oswego. 

Black Rock Business Men's Association, Buffalo. 

United Retail Grocers' Association of Brooklyn. 

Board of Trade of Saugerties. 

Board of Trade, Poughkeepsie. 

Ilion Board of Trade, Ilion. 

Tonawanda Lumberman's Association. 

Hay and Straw Dealers' Association of the State of New York. 

New Rochelle Board of Trade. 

Cold Spring Business Men's Association, Buffalo. 

New York Furniture Warehousemen's Association, New York. 

St. Lawrence County Dairymen's Board of Trade. 

Oneida Chamber of Commerce, Oneida. 

Board of Trade of the City of Kingston. 

Herkimer Board of Trade. 

Boonville Board of Trade. 

Canal Enlargement Association, Buffalo. 

Utica Dairy Board of Trade. 

Boards of Supervisors of Oneida, Warren, Cortland and Monroe 

The Mayors of Buffalo, Schenectady, Little Falls, North Tona- 
wanda, Troy, Cohoes, Oswego, Utica, Rome, Binghamton and Syra- 

The village presidents of Ilion, Coxsackie, Herkimer, Frankfort, 
Oneida, Canastota, Whitesboro, Camden, Weedsport, Bronxville, 
Oriskany Falls, Sherburne, Canajoharie, Cattaraugus, Monroe, St. 
Johnsville, Cleveland, Fort Plain and Cortland. 

The committee on permanent organization reported in addition 
to the names of the president, secretaries and treasurer, the names 
of vice-presidents and suggested the appointment of four committees 
of seventeen members each, viz., a Committee on Canals, a Commit- 
tee on Railroads, a Committee on Taxation and a Committee on 
Miscellaneous Resolutions. They also recommended that the presi- 
dent, vice-presidents, secretaries and treasurer with the chairmen 
of the four committees be created a permanent State Committee to 
continue after the adjournment of the convention for the purpose of 
carrying out the objects of the convention. The report was adopted. 


Hon. George B. Sloan of Oswego for the Committee on Canals, 
reported the following resolutions, and they were adopted by the 
convention with one dissenting vote : 

Whereas, The commercial supremacy and the prosperity of the 
State of New York were created by conditions of traffic which were 
developed by the Erie, Oswego and Champlain canals and that from 
their inception these water ways have been efficient factors in pre- 
serving such prosperity and supremacy. 

Whereas, The neglect in maintaining these canals in suitable 
condition, and the inefficient methods of transportation employed 
thereon have resulted in the decline of their efficiency and relative 
usefulness, so that they have become less important factors in con- 
trolling freight rates from the West to the Atlantic seaboard than 
formerly, principally because the same intelligence that has brought 
about the great development of the railroad systems, thereby in- 
creasing their efficiency and cheapness of service, has not been 
brought to the canal system. 

Whereas, The Dominion of Canada, recognizing the power and 
influence of sufficient waterways in determining the course of traffic, 
has enlarged the canal connecting the Great Lakes with Montreal, 
and is contemplating the construction of a canal connecting Lake 
Huron directly with the St. Lawrence river, and thereby has in- 
creased the importance of Montreal and other Canadian seaports in 
such a way as to seriously threaten the trade of American ports. 

Resolved, That the Erie, Oswego and Champlain canals ought to 
be materially improved to maintain the commercial supremacy of the 
State, thereby promoting the prosperity of its people. 

Resolved, That the outlay in making such improvement would 
be a wise investment of money for the people of the State. With 
due regard, however, to public economy, we believe that the policy 
of the State should be on the line of improving the canals to secure 
the greatest benefit from the disbursement made in the shortest time. 
The. improvements must be progressive and calculated to attain a 
definite object, and so made that each step will be complete in itself 
and give immediate benefits to commerce. 

Mr. Sloan also reported the following resolution which was 
unanimously adopted by the convention: 

Resolved, That we heartily approve of the application of Civil 
Service rules to the conduct of the canal system of this State. 

Mr. Sloan also reported the following, which was adopted : 
Whereas, Upon the preservation of our State forests depend the 
watersheds and natural water courses of the State, and upon these 
depends the water supply for our rivers and canals, and 


Whereas, Our canals and rivers depend upon the preservation of 
our forests and our commerce depends upon the competition and 
cheap transportation afforded by our canals and rivers it is of vital 
importance that our forests shall be guarded from destruction, and 
that the spirit and letter of the provisions of the state constitution 
relating thereto shall be enforced; be it, therefore, 

Resolved, That this convention is of the opinion that individual 
responsibility and individual accountability in all executive depart- 
ments of the State government is productive of the best results, and 
believing that no reason exists why that principle might not be 
applied with advantage in the administrative work of the forests of 
the State, this convention respectfully requests the Legislature to 
consider the propriety of taking the necessary steps by the enact- 
ment of new laws or by amending existing laws to the attainment 
of that end. 

Mr. Sloan also reported the following which were adopted: 

Resolved, That the people of the State of New York, having pro- 
vided a free waterway across the State connecting the great chain 
of lakes and all the vast regions tributary thereto with the Atlantic 
at its greatest harbor, the bay of New York, are entitled to the pro- 
vision of the most ample terminals therefor. 

Resolved, That the Dock Department of the City of New York 
be requested to encourage in every way the most ample accommo- 
dation for package and other freight for transmission by canal. 

Resolved, That the Superintendent of Public Works and the 
Canal Board be requested to facilitate the creation of canal terminals 
in the Erie Basin at Buffalo, in which location the State owns prop- 
erty admirably adapted for the same, and thereby encourage the ex- 
penditure of private capital to make a point of free contract, or free 
transfer storage, between the vast lake marine on the one hand and 
canal craft on the other; all of which this convention believes to be 
absolutely essential to a restoration of prosperity to the canals of 
the State. 

Other resolutions adopted dealt with other than canal interests. 


The second annual State Commerce convention met at Syracuse, 
June 6 and 7, 1900. Hon. John D. Kernan presided, and the other 
officers were as follows : 

Vice-Presidents: Win. Bayard Van Rensselaer, Albany; Isaac 
Clark, Amsterdam; Albert W. Lawton, Auburn; Frederick C. M- 


Lautz, Buffalo; Frank B. Baird, Buffalo; Knowlton Mixer, Buf- 
falo; Alfred S. Targett, Cohoes ; J. M. Diven, Ehnira; John H. 
Morse, Fort Edward; E. R. Redhead, Fulton; James W. Green, 
Gloversville; A. B. Steele, Herkimer; Clarence W. Wyckoff, 
Ithaca; Henry E. Tremain, Lake George; P. II. McEvoy, Little 
Falls; George W. Knowles, Lyons; John T. Darrison, Lockport; 
Charles A. Gorman, Medina; R. P. Carpenter, New Rochelle; Wm. 
G. Smythe, New York; Franklin Edson, New York; Gustav H. 
Schwab, New York; Thomas W. Ormiston, New York; C. C. 
Shayne, New York; John V. Barnes, New York; Charles L. 
Adams, New York; George H. Tiemeyer, New York; Cornelius 
G. Kolff, Staten Island, N. Y. ; 5. V. V. Huntington, New York; 
A. M. Hall, Oswego; Thomas M. Costello, Altmar; Herbert H. 
Douglas, Oneida; Horace McGuire, Rochester; Henry C. Brewster, 
Rochester; Douglas N. Green, Syracuse; Edward Nottingham, 
Syracuse; Wm. H. Freer, Troy; W. Pierrepont White, Utica. 

Secretaries: Frank S. Gardner, New York; John Cunneen, 
Buffalo ; Correl Humphrey, Utica. 

Treasurer: Harvey W. Brown, Rochester. 

State Committee: John D. Kernan, Utica; Jerome DeWitt, 
Binghamton; Conrad Diehl, Buffalo; M. M. Drake, Buffalo; Jos. 
W. Cummin, Cornwall-on-Hudson ; James Arkell, Canajoharie; 
Frank S. Oakes, Cattaraugus; James H. Mitchell, Cohoes; Charles 
A. Wardle, Catskill ; E. M. Tierney, Elmira; Thomas D. Lewis, 
Fulton; W. M. Haskell, Glens Falls; PL C. Munger, Herkimer; 
Seth G. Heacock, Ilion; Frank Brainard, New York; A. Abraham, 
Brooklyn; G. Waldo Smith, New York; J. H. Gregory, Kingston; 
Timothy Deasey, Little Falls; R. B. Downing, Oneida; John T. 
Mott, Oswego; John R. Myers, Rouse's Point; A. C. Kessinger, 
Rome; Charles E. Angle, Rochester; F. E. Bacon, Syracuse; Theo- 
dore S. Fassett, Tonawanda; Wm. F. Gurley, Troy; John C. Hoxie 
Utica; Edw. P. Newcomb, Whitehall ; Frank S. Gardner, New 
York; John Cunneen, Buffalo; Geo. B. Sloan, Oswego; H. S. Rey- 
nolds, Poughkeepsie; E. N. Trump, Syracuse; Richard Humphrey, 
Black Rock, Buffalo; Ludwig Nissen, Brooklyn; S. D. Coykendall, 
Rondout; George Clinton, Buffalo; George H. Raymond, Buffalo; 
Henry B. Hebert, New York; Willis H. Tcnnant, Mayville ; C. P. 
H. Vary, Newark; Wm. A. Rogers, North Tonawanda; H. H. 
Brown, Spencerport; Charles P. Corbit, New York. 

Executive Committee: John D. Kernan, Utica; G. Waldo Smith, 
New York; Frank Brainard, New York; Ludwig Nissen, Brook- 
lyn; Conrad Diehl, Buffalo; Richard Humphrey, Black Rock, Buf- 
falo; J. H. Mitchell, Cohoes; Charles A. W r ardle, Catskill; John 


C. Hoxie, Utica; Henry B. Hebert, New York; A. C. Kessinger, 
Rome; Frank S. Gardner, New York; F. E. Bacon, Syracuse; 
Harvey W. Brown, Rochester. 

The Canal Committee presented the following report and reso- 
lution : 

"We recognize that for three-quarters of a century the canal 
system of the State has been the principal factor in securing and 
promoting our commercial prosperity. The chief results have been 
the upbuilding of industrial and commercial centers along the lines 
of the canals and the making of New York City the commercial 
metropolis of the western hemisphere. 

"These great centers of population have furnished markets for 
"the agricultural products of the State. The continued growth and 
prosperity of these industrial centers are, therefore, vitally important 
to our agricultural interests. 

"While affording cheap transportation for products raised and 
consumed by our people, the canals have kept down railway freight 
rates on local traffic in all parts of the State. While the railroads 
have minimized their operating expenses and laid out vast sums of 
money in multiplying their carrying capacity, no improvements have 
been made in canal facilities for nearly forty years. They have be- 
come inadequate to the requirements of our State's commerce. The 
vast canal tonnage that gave New York its supremacy is largely di- 
verted to rival routes. One of these is a fourteen-foot canal com- 
pleted this year from the Great Lakes to the seaboard, via the St. 
Lawrence river to Montreal. The interests of the great trunk lines 
prevent their protecting the commerce of this State. By agree- 
ments between them, establishing differential rates, a large portion 
of the commerce naturally tributary to New York has been taken 
from us. An improved canal will be an effective remedy. 

"The experience of the world has shown that natural or adequate 
artificial water routes furnish today the cheapest possible transpor- 

"The greatest centers of manufacturing prosperity are found 
v/here raw materials and manufactured articles can be moved to and 
from the factory at the lowest rates. 

"An increase of ^manufacturing industries within the borders of 
the State of New York will, of necessity, benefit the farmer, the 
wage earner and the merchant, as well as the manufacturer. 

"Your committee, therefore, recommends the adoption of the 
following : 

"Resolved, That the future prosperity of the entire State requires 
the improvement and enlargement of its canals in a manner com- 


inensurate with the demands of commerce and to a capacity suffi- 
cient to compete with all rival routes." 

The Committee on Taxation reported ; and the resolution of 1899 
regarding forest preservation was again adopted. 

Before adjournment, the president of the convention was in- 
structed to appoint a committee not exceeding ten to attend the State 
conventions of all the political parties in this State, "to urge upon 
such conventions respectively the adoption of declarations in their 
platforms in favor of the improvement of the canal system of the 
State in accordance with the resolutions already adopted by this con- 

At the regular monthly meeting of the New York Board of 
Trade and Transportation next following this Syracuse convention 
the following report was submitted and read by the President, Mr. 
W. H. Parsons : 

"New York, June 13, 1900. 
"To the New York Board of Trade and Transportation: 

"The second annual State Commerce Convention was held in 
the city of Syracuse on the 6th and 7th of June, instant. There 
were more than 250 accredited delegates present, about 100 more 
than attended the first State Commerce convention at Utica last 
October. The subject of canal improvement was again the center 
of greatest interest. The convention, with but one dissenting vote, 
adopted the following on that subject, viz.: 

"'Resolved, That the future prosperity of the entire State re- 
quires the improvement and enlargement of its canals in a manner 
commensurate with the demands of commerce and to a capacity suf- 
ficient to compete with all rival routes.' 

"The convention also adopted a report upon the subject of taxa- 
tion which we suggest shall be referred to our Committee on Legis- 

"The important influence of the State Commerce conventions and 
the work done in that connection cannot be easily overestimated. 

"On the 1st day of January, 1S99, the canal improvement move- 
ment seemed dead beyond hope of resurrection. The temper of the 
people and the Legislature forbade any attempt at legislation look- 
ing to a continuance of the improvements. The policy of the Gov- 
ernor was undefined. With a view to revive interest, this board sent 
Mr. Win. F. McConnell to visit representative men and organiza- 
tions in the interior of the State. Emphatic opposition and discour- 
agement were found everywhere. The old friends of the canal had 


lost heart, and many of them were openly opposed to any further 
attempt to save the canals. We were unable to secure a single prom- 
ise from any organisation or individual for cooperation in an at- 
tempt to revive the canal movement. At that time the secretary of 
the board suggested the calling of a State convention on the broader 
ground of State commerce. He contended that State commerce cm- 
braced canal commerce; that the canal question would necessarily 
become prominent in any discussion of state commerce, and he pre- 
dicted that the canal question would thereby be revived and possibly 
become the overshadowing topic in any representative gathering of 
the business men of this State. It was conceded everywhere that 
something must be done for our commerce, but no plan or policy 
had been formed, no measures outlined. Having in mind the State 
commerce movement, on the 8th of February, 1809, this board ad- 
dressed a communication on the subject of canal improvement to 
Governor Roosevelt, declaring that 'the time has come for radical 
measures if New York is to preserve her proper commercial posi- 

"On the 8th of March, 1899, this board appointed a special com- 
mittee with instructions to call a state convention of representatives 
of organizations, cities, towns, etc., interested in preserving and 
promoting the commerce of this State. 

"On the same day Governor Roosevelt appointed 'The Committee 
on Canals of New York State.,' otherwise known as 'The Governor's 
Advisory Canal Committee.' 

"The recommendations of the Governor's committee have been 
endorsed by the business men of the State, and the last Legislature 
passed the bill drawn by the secretary of this board appropriating 
$200,000 for the making of surveys in line with such recommenda- 

"The question of canal improvement has, therefore, been raised 
from the point of despair to the position which makes it today the 
greatest State issue before the people. But there still remains much 
hostility in some parts of the State. It is, however, one of the ques- 
tions that will grow in popularity with full investigation. The op- 
position is based upon misrepresentation and ignorance of the facts. 
The subject demands discussion and agitation. The welfare of the 
State demands the fullest consideration of the subject, for wherever 
the facts are made known there the cause gains enthusiastic advo- 

"From the first effort to reestablish and enhance the efficiency of 
the canals down to the present time, covering a period of twenty- 
seven years, this board has been the leader in every movement, and 


during most of that time a larger part of the labor, the drawing of 
the canal bills that have passed the Legislature, and the general man- 
agement and conduct of the work has devolved upon the faithful 
and efficient secretary of this board, Frank S. Gardner." 

At an adjourned meeting of the State Commerce convention, held 
in Syracuse, March 26, 1901, the Committee on Resolutions pre- 
sented the following report, which, after full discussion, was adopted, 
viz. : 

"The canal system of the State was the first great factor in the 
growth of the State of New York. During its seventy-five years of 
operation, it has been the means largely of building up throughout 
this State the greatest line of prosperous cities and villages that can 
be found anywhere on this continent. It made New York City one 
of the greatest seaports ; it made Buffalo one of the greatest lake 
ports. By this growth of population throughout the State it has 
brought great benefits to all classes of our citizens : to the laboring 
man, to the farmer and to the merchant in all lines of commercial 

"In addition to its direct influence upon the prosperity of the 
State, it has been such a factor in controlling rates of freight that 
nowhere on this continent were rates of transportation by railroad 
and by water so moderate as in this State. The condition of the 
canal system of the State is most critical. The present and future 
commercial prosperity of the State is in great danger. Adequate 
improvement of the canals must be undertaken. Largely increased 
facilities for water transportation must be secured if the State's 
commercial supremacy is to be maintained; therefore, 

" 'Resolved, That it is the sense of this convention that the com- 
mercial interests of the State will be best fostered, promoted and 
protected by the construction of the one thousand ton barge canal. 

" 'Resolved , That a committee of nine, together with the president 
and secretary, be appointed by the president of this convention, 
which committee shall prepare and present to the! Governor and Leg- 
islature the further reasons for its conclusions.'" 


The preliminary call for the third annual State Commerce con- 
vention was issued from the rooms of the New York Board of 
Trade and Transportation, July 29, 1901. The official call, fixing 
Buffalo as the place of meeting, appeared September 16th; and the 
convention opened at the Merchants' Exchange, Buffalo, October 


16th. "The object of the convention/' said the official call, "is to 
consider deliberately all matters relating to commerce and manufac- 
tures, and incidentally the laws and usages of business which now 
make for progress or hinder it. The convention will devote its 
labors to State questions only; but questions relating to the policy 
of this State dependent upon action by the General Government will 
also be admitted to discussion." 

Representation was substantially as at former conventions. The 
official call said : "In order to secure the fullest consideration and 
debate practicable, every organization, city and village, submitting a 
proposition or resolution, is requested to appoint one of its delegates 
to make a leading address thereon, not to exceed thirty minutes, and 
to forward the name of such speaker and the title of his address to 
the secretary, in New York City, before October 5th, for printing in 
the official programme, stating the time he desires to occupy. . . . 
The aim now is, by creation of active associations in all important 
places where none exists, to so thoroughly and effectively organize 
the entire State in the interest of commerce and manufactures that 
hereafter the compact and irresistible influence of those interests 
shall no longer wait upon the will of others but exercise practical 
control of all actions affecting them. No locality in the State can 
afford not to be represented in the convention where questions of 
great importance to the State arid all of its people are to be acted 
upon. Business men and manufacturers in cities and places having 
no active commercial body and urged to organize at once and ap- 
point delegates to attend the convention, and submit for considera- 
tion such subjects of State and local importance as interest them." 

Official organization at Buffalo was as follows: 

President : Hon. John D. Kernan, Utica. 

Vice-Presidents: Edward A. Durant, Albany; Thomas F. Ken- 
nedy, Amsterdam; Albert W. Lav/ton, Auburn; Ogden P. Letch- 
worth, Buffalo; Fred. C. M. Lautz, Buffalo; George P. Sawyer, 
Buffalo; Alfred S. Targett, Cohoes ; Seymour Dexter, Elmira ; E 
R. Redhead, Fulton; James W. Green, Gloversville ; A. B. Steele, 
Herkimer; Clarence \V. Wyckoff, Ithaca; John McCausland; Tim- 
othy Deasey, Little Falls; Geo. W. Knowles, Lyons; John T. Dar- 
rison, Lockport ; Stanley E. Filkins, Medina; Henry Scherp, New 
Rochelle; Franklin Edson, New York; Chas. A. Schieren, Brook- 
lyn; Wm. G. Smythe, New York; Gustav H. Schwab, New York; 
Thos. W. Ormiston, New York; John V. Barnes, New York; D. 
LeRoy Dresser, New York; Albert Kinkel, New York; S. V. V. 
Huntington, New York; Cornelius G. Kolff, Staten Island; A. M. 



Hall, Oswego; Thos. M. Costello, Altmar; Robert J. Fish, Oneida; 
Henry C. Main, Rochester; Henry C. Brewster, Rochester; Wilbur 
S. Peck, Syracuse; Wm. H. Freer, Troy; Henry D. Pixley, Utica ; 
Geo. S. Dana, Utica ; George A. Fuller, Watertown. 

Secretaries : Frank S. Gardner, New York ; John Cunneen, Buf- 
falo; Correl Humphrey, Utica. 

Treasurer: Harvey W. Brown, Rochester. 

State Committee : John D. Kernan, Chairman, Utica ; Jerome 
DeWitt, Binghamton; Alfred Haines, Buffalo; Henry B. Hebert, 
New York; Jas. Arkell, Canajoharie; Frank S. Oakes, Cattaraugus; 
Jas. H. Mitchell, Cohoes ; Chas. A. Wardle, Catskill ; E. M. Buck- 
lin, Ithaca; Thos. D. Lewis, Fulton; M. M. Drake, Buffalo; Thos. 
S. Coo'idge, Glens Falls; H. G. Hunger, Herkimer; Seth G. Hea- 
cock, Ilion ; Frank Brainard, New York ; G. Waldo Smith, New 
York; Edward H. Kingsbury, Little Falls; Chas. N. Chadwick, 
Brooklyn; John T. Mott, Oswego; John R. Myers, Rouse's Point; 
A. R. Kessinger, Rome; Chas. E. Angle, Rochester; Francis E. 
Bacon, Syracuse; Theo. S. Fassett, Tonawanda; Fred' M. Orr, 
Troy; John C. Hoxie, Utica; Edward P. Newcomb, Whitehall; 
Frank S. Gardner, New York; Geo. B. Sloan, Oswego; John Cun- 
neen, Buffalo; H. S. Reynolds, Poughkeepsie ; Richard Humphrey, 
Black Rock, Buffalo; Ludwig Nissen, Brooklyn; S. D. Coykendall, 
Rondout; Geo. Clinton, Buffalo; Albert L. Swett, Medina; S. H. 
Beach, Rome; George H. Raymond, Buffalo; Willis H. Tennant, 
Mayville; Wm. R. Corwine, New York; C. P. H. Vary, Newark; 
Wm. A. Rogers, North Tonawanda; Chas. A. Lux, Clyde; H. H. 
Brown, Spencerport; Chas. P. Corbit, New York. 

Among the resolutions adopted were the following: 
As reported by the Committee on Miscellaneous Resolutions : 
"Resolved, That it be recommended to each trade to organize an 
association for the improvement of trade conditions, and 

"Resolved, That a central organization, composed of delegates 
from the various trade associations be maintained for cooperation in 
measures to promote interests common to all the trades." 

Also the following: 

"Resolved, That while it is impracticable that this body shall sug- 
gest or recommend specific or detailed propositions for improving 
the methods of legislation in this State, we believe the subject to be 
of great importance to the welfare of the Commonwealth. In 1895, 
an expert commission appointed by Governor Morton investigated 
the subject and reported its conclusions with bills which were de- 


signed to remedy the evils of 'over legislation,' to check the passage 
of 'slip-shod and ill-considered measures/ and to reduce the influence 
of the lobby to a legitimate sphere. The necessity for some reforms 
in this direction is patent to all observers of legislative methods, and 
especially to those whose interests are so often assailed by the intro- 
duction and passage of bills of which no previous notice is given, 
and the knowledge of which is obtained only by accident or by main- 
taining at great expense a system of constant vigilance. 

"Resolved, That we respectfully request His Excellency, the 
Governor, and the members of the Legislature to give the subject of 
methodizing legislation their most careful consideration." 

"Whereas, A portion of the Cob Dock maintained by the United 
States is an obstruction to navigation in the East River, and a bill 
has been introduced in Congress for its removal. 

"Resolved, That this convention approves the object, and recom- 
mends suitable action by the United States, the State and city to 
thus improve this channel." 

"Resolved, That this convention most earnestly favors the estab- 
lishment of a Department of Commerce, urges action by Congress in 
that regard and recommends individual solicitation of our Repre- 
sentatives, and that the secretary of this convention transmits this 
resolution to similar bodies for like action." 

Adopted as reported by the Committee on Taxation: 

"Resolved, That the State Commerce convention reiterates its 
resolution : 'That the best way to reform the system of local taxa- 
tion is to grant local option in taxation to the cities and counties of 
the State,' and to carry this resolution into effect, recommends the 
passage of the Bill for the Apportionment of State Taxes and for 
Local Option in Taxation, prepared by the New York Tax Reform 
Association, and unanimously endorsed by many organizations, some 
of which are members of this convention. 

"Resolved, That this convention endorses the following resolu- 
tion on taxation unanimously adopted by the National Tax Confer- 

" 'This conference recommends to the States the recognition and 
enforcement of the principles of inter-state comity in taxation. 
These principles require that the same property should not be taxed 
at the same time by two State jurisdictions and that if the title 
deeds or other paper evidences of the ownership of property or of 
an interest in property are taxed, they shall be taxed at the situs of 


the property and not elsewhere. These principles should also be 
applied to any tax upon the. transfer of property in expectation of 
death, or by will, or under the laws regulating the distribution of 
property in case of intestacy.' " 

This was adopted as reported by the Committee on Canals. The 
official minutes further say: 

"Our canal system was the first great factor in the growth of our 
State. During its seventy-five years of operation it has made New 
York City one of the greatest seaports in the world. It has made 
Buffalo one of the greatest lake ports. It has built up a line of the 
richest and most populous cities and villages connecting the two that 
can be found anywhere on this continent. 

"The consequent increase of population and industry has brought 
untold benefits to all classes of our citizens; to the laboring man, to 
the mechanic, to the farmer and to the merchant in all lines of com- 
mercial industry. 

"In addition to its direct influence upon the prosperity of the 
State, it has been the chief factor in controlling and regulating 
freight rates. Its influence in this particular has rapidly declined 
during recent years. 

"Through failure to adequately improve its waterways, the State 
has experienced a marked falling off in its proportion of the com- 
merce of the country. There is every prospect of still further de- 
cline in the future, with consequent increasing injury to all the ma- 
terial interests of the State, unless checked by proper canal enlarge- 
ment. The condition of our canal system is most critical. The pres- 
ent and future prosperity of the State is in great danger. Continued 
neglect of our waterways is encouraging Canadian and other com- 

"Vast combinations of railroad interests have destroyed all rail- 
way competition. The produce of the western farmer is carried by 
rail at lower rates than are given to the farmers of New York. The 
manufacturers of adjacent states receive like advantages over our 
own manufacturers. These discriminations are injurious. 

"Largely increased facilities for water transportation must be 
secured under State control if our commercial supremacy is to be 
maintained. The result will be a marked increase in local traffic on 
the canals, with cheaper freight rates on all our merchandise to and 
from the seaboard. 

"An adequate improvement of these waterways will also promote 
a large growth in the manufacture of iron and steel, and will stimu- 
late the development of other manufacturing enterprises throughout 


the State. This means a vast increase in our population to meet 
the new demands for labor, which will furnish the farmer a larger 
and better home market for his products. It means great benefits to 
all classes within our State, whether merchants, manufacturers, 
farmers, mechanics or laboring men. 

"In the improvement of the canals the development of industry 
on the State's inland lakes now connected with the canal system 
should be encouraged, and adequate facilities for their commerce 
should be provided. 

"A State commission, composed of able engineers and business 
men, have, after full investigation, decided that the proper and best 
solution of these problems of water transportation requires the con- 
struction of a barge canal through the State of New York with a 
capacity sufficient for boats carrying one thousand tons. 

'"As representatives of its progressive business organizations, we 
believe that the Empire State, both in wealth and population, can 
well afford to accept the best plan for insuring its commercial pros- 

"At this the third session of the State Commerce convention 
which has considered the subject of adequate canal improvement in 
all its phases, we hereby reaffirm our former conclusions; therefore, 
be it 

."'Resolved, That it is the sense of this convention that the com- 
mercial interests of the State will be best fostered, promoted, and 
protected by the construction of the one thousand ton barge canal.' 

"Adopted as reported by the Committee on Canals; with the fol- 
lowing supplementary resolution: 

"'Resolved, That the Legislature be requested to provide for a 
survey and estimate of the cost of adequately improving Cayuga and 
Seneca lakes, and the Cayuga and Seneca canal, in connection with 
any improvements which may be made on the Erie canal, that there 
may be a free interchange of traffic with that section of the State 
served by those waterways.' 

"The following was referred to the Committee on Railroads. 
The committee held no meeting after the reference and was dis- 
charged from its consideration. The convention discussed and 
adopted it in open session. 

"By an Act of Congress passed in 18S6 an Interstate Commerce 
Commission was appointed to generally consider the railroad ques- 
tion of the United States and to prevent unjust discrimination 
against its citizens by the railroads. 


"For fourteen years the Commission was composed of the most 
eminent men of the country, and expending vast sums have endeav- 
ored to carry cut the provisions of this Act. 

"The following quotation from the last report of the Commission 
[Dec. 1900] shows the utter failure of the effort of the people to 
save themselves from the discrimination and abuses practiced by the 
railroads of this country. 

" 'In its late report of December 24, 1900, the Commission says 
that railroad managers generally make no attempt to obey the law, 
and claim that they are compelled to counteract its aim and evade 
its observance; that frequent discriminations occur and endless acts 
of injustice are committed in railroad service and charges; that 
railroad combinations have been formed and are certain to be 
formed, which will be more extensive, more permanent and more 
far reaching in their ultimate results than in any other department 
of industry; that no matter whether unity of interest be secured 
through consolidations, leases or holdings of each other's stock, the 
aim always is the same, that is, to stop competition, inflate securities, 
advance rates and enforce classifications beneficial to the railroads; 
that it will soon lie within the power of two or three, or at most 
a small group of men, to say what tax shall be imposed upon the 
vast traffic moving between the east and the west by rail ; that 824 
changes were made in the official classification on January 1, 1900, 
by carriers using that classification, of which 818 produced advances 
in rates and six resulted in reductions. Based on Chicago-New York 
rates, of these advances 434 increased the rate 42.8 per cent, and 32 
as low as 15.3 per cent. Six of the advances amounted to 100 per 
cent, of the old rate. The average advance was 35.5 per cent. 

"The Commission finds that these advances are not justified by 
need of revenue, or increased cost of operation, as claimed by rail- 
roads ; that increase of traffic has made the percentage of operating 
expenses to earnings less than the average from 1890 to 189S; that 
slight increases make an enormous aggregate; that one cent a bushel 
on all the grain passing through the port of Buffalo, 1S99, would 
amount to $1,500,000 and applied to all grain moved by rail in the 
United States for that year it would have aggregated almost 
$10,000,000; therefore 

"Resolved, That it is the sense of this convention that in view of 
this unjust discrimination against the people of the State on the 
part of railroads, we must preserve, enlarge and improve our State 
lakes, rivers and canals, as the only safeguards for our people 
against such excessive railroad rates and unjust discrimination, and 
as regulators of all through and local railroad rates in our State. 


The convention also adopted the following: 

"Resolved, That the State Committee be requested to take such 
steps as it deems proper to present the action of this convention to 
the Governor and the Legislature." 

The programme of the Buffalo convention included the following 
papers, addresses, etc.: 


Address of Welcome, Mr. O. P. Letchworth, President Buffalo 
Merchants' Exchange. 

Report of the Roll of the Convention — Executive Committee. 

Appointment of Committee on Miscellaneous Resolutions ; on 
Taxation ; on Railroads ; on Canals ; on Nominations. 

Address, "Taxation," by Lawson Purdy of the New York Tax 
Reform Association. 

Address, "Trade Associations and Cooperation," by Marcus M. 
Marks, President, The Clothiers' Association of New York. 

Address, "Contracts Printed on Railroad Tickets," by Mr. Willis 
H. Tennant of Mayville. 

Address, "Methodizing of Legislation," by Mr. William McCar- 
roll of New York Board of Trade and Transportation. 

Address, "Removal of Cob Dock at Brooklyn Navy Yard," by 
Mr. Charles N. Chadwick of Manufacturers' Association of New 

Address, "The Future Canal System of the State of New York," 
by Capt. M. M. Drake of the Buffalo Merchants' Exchange. 

Address, "The Business Interests of Western New York and the 
Barge and Ship Canal Propositions," by Mr. S. E. Filkins of the 
Medina Business Men's Association. 

Address, "The Proper Position for Rochester on Water Trans- 
portation," by Mr. Horace G. Pierce of the Rochester Wholesale 
Grocers' Association. 


Address, "The Waterway Question—An Adequate Solution from 
Niagara to the Sea," by Mr. John A. C. Wright of the Rochester 
Chamber of Commerce. 

Address, "Practical Water Transportation for the State of New 
York," by Mr. Henry C. Main of the Rochester Retail Grocers' As- 

Address, "A Comparison of the Barge Canal with Deep Water- 
ways," by Mr. George W. Rafter, C. E., of the Rochester Chamber 
of Commerce. 


Address, "Ship versus Barge Canal," by Capt. Charles Campbell 
of the Marine Industrial League of New York. 

Address, "Waterborne Freights,'' by Mr. Lewis Nixon of the 
New York Board of Trade and Transportation. 

Address, "The Preservation of our Waterways," by Mr. Thomas 
Dorrity of the Western Waterway Transportation League of North- 
western New York. 

Address, "The Practical and the Impractical in Water Transpor- 
tation for the State of New York," by Mr. Gordon W. Hall of Lock- 
port, Mayor's delegation. 

Address, "The Importance of the Thousand Ton Barge Canal to 
Western New York," by Mr. Edward I. Taylor of the Lockport 
Business Men's Association. 

Address, "Importance of the Canal Waterways," by Mr. John 
McCausland of Rondout, Mayor's delegation. 

Address, "The Erie Canal Vital to Best Interests of the State of 
New York," by Dr. J. D. Bonnar of North Main Association, Buf- 

The sessions of Friday, October 18th, were devoted to open dis- 
cussion and miscellaneous business. 

Proposed by Willis H. Tennant, alternate for president, of May- 

"Resolved, That the Legislature should forthwith enact a law 
making it unlawful for any transportation company doing business 
in this State, to issue or sell any passenger ticket or coupon de- 
signed as evidence of the right of the purchaser or owner thereof to 
a ride thereon, or because of the same, within the State of New 
York; excepting such tickets or coupons as shall be good and valid 
until used by the bearer of the same, in the usual course of business 
and travel ; and making all contract provisions inserted or endorsed 
upon any such ticket or coupon, in conflict with the foregoing, abso- 
lutely void." 

Proposed by Clothiers' Association of New York: 

"Resolved, That it be recommended to each trade to organize an 
association for the improvement of trade conditions ; and 

"Resolved, That a central organization, under the direction of 
this convention, composed of delegates from the various trade asso- 
ciations be maintained for cooperation in measures to promote in- 
terests common to all the trades." 


Proposed by New York Tax Reform Association : 

"Resolved, That the State Commerce convention reiterates its 
resolution: 'That the best way to reform the system of local taxa- 
tion is to grant local option in taxation to the cities and counties of 
the state' and to carry this resolution into effect, recommends the 
passage of the Bill for the Apportionment of State Taxes and for 
Local Option in Taxation, prepared by the New York Tax Reform 
Association and unanimously endorsed by many organizations, some 
of which are members of this convention. 

"Resolved, That this convention endorses the following resolu- 
tion on taxation unanimously adopted by the National Tax confer- 

"'This conference recommends to the states the recognition and 
enforcement of the principles of inter-State comity in taxation. These 
principles require that the same property should not be taxed at the 
same time by two state jurisdictions, and that if the title deeds or 
other paper evidences of the ownership of property or of an interest 
in property are taxed they shall be taxed at the situs of the property 
and not elsewhere. These principles should also be applied to any 
tax upon the transfer of property in expectation of death, or by will 
or under the laws regulating the distribution of property in case of 
intestacy.' " 

Proposed by the Rochester Chamber of Commerce: 

"All the Great Lakes lying in the continental basin, except On- 
tario, having been united by the United States at their proper ex- 
pense ; 

"Resolved, That the State Commerce convention of New York 
favors a deep waterway around Niagara this side, extending into 
Lake Ontario, and to New York State the commerce and develop- 
ment that has followed the opening of adequate channels in the up- 
per lakes, and forming a trunk water route in this basin, and 

"Resolved, This convention recommends the same to the Federal 
Government for action, and requests cooperation on the part of the 

Also the following: 

"The Federal Government having surveyed a deep waterway 
through the Great Lakes to the seaboard by the Hudson, as recom- 
mended by a United States Commission appointed by the President ; 

"Resolved, That it is the sense of this convention that the same 
should be considered in connection with State canal improvement, 
and cooperation on the part of the State and National Governments 


be sought to the end that such Federal way shall serve both uses, 
where routes are common, upon satisfactory terms, and our State 
canal system he dovetailed with it — insuring most efficient channels 
at least expense to the State." 

Proposed by the Buffalo Merchants' Exchange: 

"Whereas, Through forty years' neglect of its waterways the 
State of New York has experienced during recent years a marked 
falling off in its share of the commerce between the West and the 
seaboard, with the prospect of a still further decline in the future, 
entailing severe injury to the material interests of the State; and 

"Whereas, There is reason to think that in addition to regaining 
this loss of traffic and preventing its further loss, an adequate im- 
provement of these waterways would also promote a large growth 
in manufacturing within the State, and would enable manufacturers 
of this State to obtain better access to the mineral and other raw 
material produced in the northwest lake region, and give them de- 
cided advantages over the manufacturing industries of other States ; 

"Whereas, Such manufacturing growth and such revival and 
growth of the export trade from New York City, would necessarily 
bring a large increase of population and wealth to the State, and 
would be of continued and great benefit to all classes of the com- 
munity, whether merchants, manufacturers, farmers or laboring 
men; and 

"Whereas, A State commission, composed of able engineers and 
business men, have, after full investigation, decided that the proper 
and best solution of the problems of water transportation from the 
Lakes to the Seaboard requires the building of a barge canal through 
the State of New York with a capacity sufficient to float barges 
carrying one thousand tons, and have submitted facts and arguments 
in support of such a barge canal which have never been controverted 
and are unanswerable ; therefore, 

"Resolved, That we urge the Governor of the State of New York 
and upon the Legislature the importance and necessity of providing 
for a thousand ton barge canal in the shortest possible time, in order 
that the State may retain its present commercial and industrial in- 
terests and may obtain in the future the commercial and industrial 
supremacy to which its geographical position, its wealth and the 
character of its population entitle it." 

Proposed by John McCausland of Kingston, Mayor's delegate: 
"Resolved, That the people of the State of New York, through 
their representatives, give more attention, in the future, to the canal 


waterways that are the people's properly and not allow them to be 
abandoned or become of secondary importance, through neglecting 
to keep them in condition to meet f he increased demands of trade. 
"All parts of the State, directly or indirectly, are interested." 

Proposed by the Constantia Board of Trade : 

[A long set of preambles and resolutions relating to railroad, 
grain elevator and wharf charges, favoring State elevators, opposing 
use of the canals and other water transportation by railroads, urging 
repeal of pilotage laws and urging improvement of the canals on 
one thousand ton barge plan and opposing "all seaboard freight dis- 

Proposed by the New York Board of Trade and Transportation : 

"Resolved, That while it is impracticable that this body shall sug- 
gest or recommend specific or detailed propositions for improving 
the methods of legislation in this State, we believe the subject to be 
of great importance to the welfare of the commonwealth. In 1895, 
an expert commission appointed by Governor Morton, investigated 
the subject and reported its conclusions with bills which were de- 
signed to remedy the evils of 'over legislation,' to check the passage 
of 'slip-shod and ill-considered measures/ and to reduce the influ- 
ence of the lobby to a legitimate sphere. The necessity for some re- 
forms in this direction is patent to all observers of legislative meth- 
ods, and especially to those whose interests are so often assailed by 
the introduction and passage of bills of which no previous notice is 
given, and the knowledge of which is obtained only by accident or 
by maintaining at great expense a system of constant vigilance. 

"Resolved, That we respectfully request His Excellency, the Gov- 
ernor, and the members of the Legislature to give the subject of 
methodizing legislation their most careful consideration. 

Proposed by the Manufacturers' Association of New York: 

"Whereas, The Government of the United States at present 
maintains a cob dock opposite the Navy Yard in the East River, 
which cob dock is not only of no advantage to the Government, but 
is in fact an obstruction to navigation and to the complete utilization 
of the Navy Yard property ; and, 

"Whereas, For the purpose of removing said obstruction and of 
improving the navigation of said river, a bill has been prepared and 
introduced in the Congress of the United States, which bill is known 
and designated as 'S. 2473,' and which is now before the Committee 
on Naval Affairs of the House of Representatives; and, 


"Whereas, Said improvement will be of great permanent advant- 
age to the commerce of the State of New York, including the com- 
merce of the Erie Canal and the exchange of products of this State 
and other States which are brought to the seaboard by the various 
railroads centering at this point where vessels from all parts of the 
world will find a convenient outlet; and, 

"Whereas, It is fair and proper that the expense of such im- 
provement should be borne proportionately by the State of New 
York and by the city of New York, the total amount of which ex- 
pense is estimated to be $1,250,000;- 

"Resolved, That this convention does approve of the object set 
forth in this preamble to this resolution and of the bill prepared in 
furtherance thereof and now under consideration by Congress, and 
does recommend that said bill be passed and that the State of New 
York at the next session of the Legislature thereof by proper legis- 
lation take the necessary steps and make and authorize the proper 
appropriations for carrying into effect the provisions of said bill." 

The convention also adopted and endorsed the resolution drawn 
up at the adjourned meeting in Syracuse, March 26, 1901, advocating 
the construciion of the one thousand ton barge canal, as printed on 
a preceding page. 




■" "« , '■ 



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I, _.■ . .,....,., 

&s£ i .,■• life, fail 








Chairman, Committee on Foreign Commerce and the Revenue Laws, 

Chamber of Commerce, State of New York; Chairman of the 

Canal Improvement State Committee; etc, etc. 

— 1752739 

The business interests of New York for a number of 
years have borne the burden of the fact that their city and 
port has steadily been losing the share of the export and 
import traffic of the whole country to which it is entitled. 

The report made to the Chamber of Commerce of the 
State of New York by its Committee on the Harbor and 
Shipping in February, 1898, on the diversion of trade from 
New York, showed that the "proportion of imports through 
New York fell from 69 per cent, in 1877 to 63.3 per cent, in 
1897, while the imports of all other ports rose from 31 per 
cent, to $6.J per cent. The percentage of the domestic 
exports from New York fell from 43.6 per cent, in 1877 to 
41.5 per cent, in 1897, while the exports of all of the United 
States ports increased from 56.4 per cent, to 58.5 per cent. 
of the whole." During the twenty years from 1877 to 1897 
the same report showed a total decrease of the commerce to 
and from New York from 53.7 per cent, to 51 per cent., and 
an advance of all other ports from 46.3 per cent, to 49 per 
cent. According to the Chamber's annual report for the 



fiscal year ending June 30, 1902, the total foreign commerce 
of New York City, during the year ending June 30, 1902, 
suffered a decrease of $43,198,321, as compared with the 
same period of the previous year, and $23,756,248 as com- 
pared with the period ending June 30, 1900; thus showing 
a growing decrease during the period comprised by these 
three years. 

The report of the Commerce Commission appointed by 
Governor Black in the year 1898 to examine into the com- 
merce of New York, the cause of its decline, and to suggest 
means for its revival, contained testimony proving con- 
clusively that the commerce of the State of New York was 
at the mercy and under the control of certain railroad com- 
binations which, through discrimination, diverted traffic to 
other ports and other States as might best suit their con- 
venience or their particular interests. The business men of 
New York were helpless to meet these combinations and 
discriminations, for it was a fact patent to all that the Erie 
Canal was in a condition verging on uselessness, utterly 
unable to compete with the service given by the railroads 
and, therefore, incapable of fulfilling its former vocation of 
a regulator of transportation rates. 

The conclusions to which the business interests of New 
York were forced, were those formulated by the Committee 
on Interstate Commerce of the United States Senate, years 
before, as follows: 

"The evidence before the Committee accords with the experience 
of all nations in recognizing water routes as the most efficient cheap- 
ened and regulators of railroad charges. Their influence is not con- 
fined within the limits of the territory immediately accessible to 
water transportation, but extends further, and controls railroad rates 
at such remote interior points as have competing lines reaching 
means of transportation by water. 

"Competition between railroads sooner or later leads to combina- 
tion or consolidation, but neither can prevail to force unreasonable 
rates in the face of direct competition with free natural or artificial 
routes. The conclusion of the Committee is, therefore, that natural 
or artificial channels of communication by water when favorably lo- 
cated, adequately improved and properly maintained, afford the 
cheapest methods of long distance transportation now known, and 



that they must continue to exercise in the future, as they have in- 
variably exercised in the past, an absolutely controlling and bene- 
ficially regulating influence upon the charges made upon any and all 
means of transit." 

The unsatisfactory outcome of the canal improvement 
plan of 1895, under which it was proposed to expend 
$9,000,000 in the enlargement of the Erie Canal to a depth 
of nine feet, created in the minds of the business men of 
New York a feeling of great disappointment, and at the 
same time gave rise to renewed discussion of the subject of 
thorough and extensive canal improvement. This discussion 
culminated in the adoption by the Board of Managers of the 
New York Produce Exchange on September 21, 1899, of 
the following preamble and resolutions, which were drafted 
by a sub-committee of the Canal Committee of the Ex- 
change, consisting of Messrs. Frank Brainard, Gustav H. 
Schwab, and John P. Truesdell : 

Whereas, The commercial supremacy and the prosperity of the 
City and State of New York were created by conditions of traffic 
which were developed by the Erie Canal, and that from its inception 
this waterway has been one of the most efficient factors in preserving 
such prosperity and supremacy; 

Whereas, By reason of the decay in the physical condition of the 
Erie Canal, and the antiquated methods of transportation employed 
thereon, its efficiency and relative usefulness have greatly declined, 
and have in fact shrunken into insignificance in comparison with 
other means of transportation ; so that the canal has almost ceased 
to be a factor in controlling and modifying freight rates from the 
West to the Atlantic Seaboard, or in influencing the distribution of 
traffic as between the different competitive points upon the seaboard ; 
principally because the same intelligence that has brought about the 
great development of the railroad systems, thereby increasing their 
efficiency and cheapness of service, has not been brought to the Canal 

Whereas, The combination and consolidation of the interests of 
different railroad trunk lines, which have heretofore been competitors 
for export traffic, and which are now uniting, and which in future 
will probably more and more unite under single systems of manage- 
ment,' will destroy the motive which has in the past induced certain 
great railway systems to protect the Port of New York in the dis- 
tribution of traffic; 


Whereas, The Dominion of Canada, recognizing the power and 
influence of sufficient waterways in determining the course of trafuc, 
has enlarged the canal connecting the Great Lakes with Montreal, 
and is contemplating the construction of a canal connecting Lake 
Huron directly with the St. Lawrence River, and thereby has in- 
creased the importance of Montreal and other Canadian seaports in 
such a way as to seriously threaten the trade of American ports ; 

Whereas, The conviction is growing upon us that the enlarge- 
ment and improvement of the Erie Canal to a depth of nine feet, 
which has already cost the State nine millions of dollars, and which 
will cost many millions more, will at the best afford but temporary 
relief, and that the maintenance of the position of the Port of New 
York in control of the greater part of the imports and exports of 
the United States, can be permanently secured only by an enlarge- 
ment of the waterways connecting the Great Lakes with the Hudson 
River to such an extent as to finally determine such route to be the 
cheapest, notwithstanding any possible competition from the railway 
systems or other waterways; therefore, be it 

Resolved, That in the opinion of your Committee the true policy 
of the State of New York should be the construction of a waterway 
connecting Lake Erie with the Hudson River, of a much greater 
carrying capacity than can be afforded by the plan of improvement 
which has been begun. That the principal benefits which will be con- 
ferred upon the State will be far in excess of any possible cost of 
such enlarged waterway; that we favor the construction and main- 
tenance of a canal of a depth of not less than fourteen feet with cor- 
responding width; that, if it is necessarv. a new alignment of the 
canal should be made by canalizing the Mohawk, Seneca and Clyde 
rivers ; 

Resolved, That the Board of Managers of the New York Produce 
Exchange be requested to urge the speedy construction of such a 
canal, and by official action pledge the Exchange to hearty support 
of legislation tending to that end. 

Thus at the beginning of the campaign for genuine and 
effective canal enlargement the export interests of New 
York City, represented by the New York Produce Exchange, 
raised the standard of canal improvement which they con- 
sidered essential and, as the sequel shows, led the fight for 
canal improvement on these lines to ultimate success at the 
polls, except that the depth of the canal, as finally adopted, 
was twelve feet instead of fourteen feet. 


With a view to reviving the movement for canal improve- 
ment, the New York Board of Trade and Transportation, in 
the fall of 1898, appointed a special committee for the pur- 
pose of conferring with other organizations and, if deemed 
advisable, to call a State Canal Improvement Convention. 
This movement resulted in the calling of a State Commerce 
Convention which met in the city of Utica on October 10, 
1899, and which adopted resolutions calling for the material 
improvement of the Erie, Oswego and Champlain canals as 
a wise investment for the people of the State. The conven- 
tion at Utica was followed by a second convention held in 
Syracuse on June 6, 1900, and by a third held in Buffalo on 
October 16, 1901, at which resolutions demanding the im- 
provement and enlargement of the State canals were 
adopted. Many of the influential commercial bodies of the 
State were represented at these conventions and the discus- 
sion of the canal question contributed materially towards 
rousing the interest of citizens in the improvement of the 
State's water-ways. 

The New York Board of Trade and Transportation on 
February 8, 1899, adopted resolutions drawing the attention 
of the Governor and State Legislature to the danger that 
threatened the commerce and supremacy of the City of New 
York through rival seaboard cities and through Canadian 
competition, and demanding the immediate enlargement and 
improvement of the State's canals, and the abolition of rail- 
road discriminations and of taxes on commerce. This was 
followed by the appointment by Governor Roosevelt on 
March 8, 1899, of the Committee on Canals of New York 
State, of which Gen. Francis V. Greene, U. S. Army, was 
chairman. The able report of this committee calling for 
the construction between the Great Lakes and the Hudson 
River of a canal of a capacity sufficient for the passage of 
barges of 1,000 tons burden, became the chief weapon in 
the hands of the canal interests in their campaign for canal 

Looking toward the initiation of an active movement in 
favor of the enlargement and improvement of the canals of 
the State on the lines of the resolutions adopted by the New 


York Produce Exchange, the commercial organizations of 
Greater New York were invited to meet the Canal Com- 
mittee of the Exchange for consultation with regard to the 
enlargement and improvement of the State canals. The 
meeting was held on December 12, 1899, in the managers' 
room of the New York Produce Exchange, the following 
commercial organizations of Greater New York being rep- 

Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York. 

New York Board of Trade and Transportation. 

Merchants' Association of New York. 

Maritime Association of the Port of New York. 

Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. 

Merchants' and Manufacturers' Board of Trade. 

New York Manufacturers' Association. 

Canal Boat Owners' Association. 

The members of the Committee on Canals of New York 
State appointed by Governor Roosevelt ; and 

The members of the Committee on Canals of the New 
York Produce Exchange. 

Mr. Henry B. Hebert, chairman of the Committee on 
Canals, presided and addressed the meeting, showing the 
diversion to other ports of inland commerce which had so 
far been tributary to the Port of New York; tracing the 
relation of the railroads to this diversion of traffic, and 
finally discussing the practical measures that could be 
adopted to restore to New York the commerce of the in- 
terior and permanently to reestablish its preeminence in 
trade. Mr. Hebert in his address referred to the resolutions 
adopted by the Board of Managers of the New York Pro- 
duce Exchange on September 21, 1899, stating that these 
resolutions reflected the best judgment of the active mem- 
bers of the Produce Exchange, who not only had contributed 
most largely to the business of the canal, but who were inti- 
mately acquainted with the competitive conditions affecting 
canal transportation. In his address Mr. Hebert took the 
position that a nine- foot canal, such as proposed under the 
improvement of 1895, would be the same feeble competitor 
that the present canal is as a transportation factor, the only 


solution being the construction of a modern water-way of 
large dimensions, connecting Lake Erie with tide water on 
the Hudson River, as an essential condition to the continued 
commercial supremacy of the State. 

In the discussion that followed, the representatives of the 
various commercial organizations present expressed their 
approval of the plan for a barge canal contained in the 
report of the Committee on Canals of New York State to 
the Governor; and General Francis V. Greene, Chairman 
of the Committee on Canals of New York State, addressed 
the meeting on the various propositions made by his com- 
mittee for the improvement of the State's water-ways. 

Further conferences were held between the Canal Com- 
mittee of the New York Produce Exchange and the Com- 
mittee on Canals of New York State for the discussion of 
the question of canal enlargement, and on March 7, 1900, a 
conference of representatives of various commercial organi- 
zations of Greater New York with the Committee on Canals 
of the New York Produce Exchange, and the Committee on 
Canals of New York State was held in the Produce Ex- 
change. There were present representatives of the 
New York Produce Exchange, 
Maritime Association of the Port of New York, 
New York Board of Trade and Transportation, 
The Merchants' Association of New York, and 
The members of the Committee on Canals of New York 
State, appointed by Governor Roosevelt. 

At this meeting a resolution was adopted endorsing the 
proposed expenditure of $200,000 for a thorough survey for 
the improvement of the Erie Canal, the Champlain Canal 
and the Oswego Canal, also favoring the proposition to re- 
move the limitation of $50,000 capitalization on corporations 
navigating the canals, and appointing a committee of twenty- 
five to prepare proper bills, and to present and urge their 
passage before the Legislature. 

The bill providing for the survey was drawn by Mr. 
Frank S. Gardner, Secretary of the New York Board of 
Trade and Transportation, and was introduced by the Hon. 
Henry W. Hill in the Assembly on March 5, 1900. The 


committee of twenty-five appointed by the chairman of the 
Committee on Canals attended the hearing on this bill before 
the legislative committees at Albany and urged favorable 
action upon it. 

The New York Produce Exchange on January 26, 1900, 
invited the commercial organizations of the Port of New 
York to join it in tendering a banquet to Governor Theodore 
Roosevelt, to which were to be invited as guests of honor 
the Committee on Canals of New Y r ork State, appointed by 
Governor Roosevelt, and the New York State Commerce 
Commission appointed by Governor Black, as an expression 
of the appreciation of the mercantile associations of the City 
of New York of the efforts of these two committees in fur- 
thering the improvement of the State Canals and the com- 
mercial interests of the city and State. 

An executive committee of twenty-five was appointed by 
the President of the Exchange to arrange with other com- 
mercial bodies for this banquet. 

The following commercial organizations cooperated with 
the Committee on Canals and other members of the New 
York Produce Exchange in this banquet : 

The Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York, 
The New York Board of Trade and Transportation, 
The Merchants' Association of New York, 
The Maritime Association of the Port of New York, 
The Merchants' and Manufacturers' Board of Trade, 
The New York Board of Fire Underwriters, 
The New Y r ork Board of Marine Underwriters, 
The Cotton Exchange, 
The Coffee Exchange, 
The Real Estate Exchange, 

The Canal Boat Owners' and Commercial Association of 
trie State of New York, 
The Mercantile Exchange, 

The Manufacturers' Association of New Y~ork, and 
The Lumber Trade Association. 

A number of representative gentlemen were selected from 
these organizations to act as a General Committee to have 
charge of the dinner, from which an Executive Committee 


was formed, the following being appointed members of this 
Executive Committee to take charge of the details of the 
dinner: Gustav H. Schwab, A. B. Hepburn, Franklin 
Quinby. Alfred Romer, Vincent Loeser, S. Cristy Mead, 
Henry Hentz, J. A. Heckman, Samuel D. Coykendall, Evan 
Thomas, E. L. Boas, Darwin R. James, W. E. Cleary, Her- 
mann Sielcken, Elliott T. Barrows, Henry A. Hebert, John 
P. Truesdell, Oswald Sanderson, William R. Corwine, J. 
Montgomery Hare, Lewis H. Spence, F. B. Thurber, Henry 
A. McGee, A. H. McKnight, William Brookheld, John V. 
Barnes, Julius D. Mahr, S. DeWaltearrs, G. W. Vanderhoef. 

Mr. Gustav H. Schwab was elected chairman of the 
Executive Committee, appointed to arrange for the dinner, 
Mr. Oswald Sanderson, treasurer, and Mr. William R. 
Corwine, secretary. 

The following guests accepted the invitation to the 
banquet tendered to Governor Roosevelt: 

The Hon. Timothy L. Woodruff, Lieutenant Governor. 

The Hon. Chauncey M. Depew, United States Senator. 

The Hon. Andrew H. Green, C. C. Shayne and Alexander 
R. Smith, of the New York State Commerce Commission. 

Gen. Francis V. Greene, John W T . Scatcherd, Major 
Thos. W. Syrnons, Frank S. Witherbee, John W. Partridge 
and John A. Fairlie, of the Committee on Canals of New 
York State. 

The Hon. H. W. Hill, the Lion. Thos. D. Lewis, the Lion. 
Gherardi Davis, the Lion. Perez M. Stewart, the Hon. 
William E. Wheeler, the Hon. J. P. Allds and the Hon. 
John Ford, of the Assembly Committee on Canals. 

The Hon. E. A. Bond, State Engineer and Surveyor; 
the Hon Fred. S. Nixon, Speaker of the Assembly ; and 
Frank S. Gardner, Secretary of the New York Board of 
Trade and Transportation. . 

The dinner was held at the Waldorf-Astoria on March 
io, 1900, Mr. William E. Dodge, of the firm of Phelps, 
Dodge & Co., acting as chairman. 

In his address Mr. Dodge called attention to the courage 
and skill with which Governor Roosevelt, the guest of the 
evening, had taken hold of the large questions which most 


deeply touch the interests of the State, and ho\y he had 
appointed a commission to study the great question of inter- 
nal navigation, on which the commercial supremacy of New- 
York depended. Mr. Dodge referred to the proud position 
of the Empire State in population, in wealth and in influence, 
and urged that this supremacy should be upheld. 

Governor Roosevelt in his address pointed to the fact that 
the wealth and unrivalled geographical advantages of New 
York had made its citizens feel secure against possible com- 
petitors ; that while these competitors had combined against 
New York, New York had sunk back, content to rely upon 
the belief that so long a lead could never be cut down. The 
Governor called attention to the one great advantage enjoyed 
by the State of New York over all other ports, save the 
winterbound ports of Canada, namely, the break in the great 
mountain system which stretches from the St. Lawrence to 
Georgia. New York alone can have direct communication 
by water with the vast grain-fields and the deep beds of coal 
and iron in the interior. A really adequate water-way from 
Lake Erie to the mouth of the Hudson would make Buffalo 
a possible rival of Chicago, and would put her far beyond 
the chances of rivalry with any other city on the Great 
Lakes. It would make her in all human probability the 
center of the iron industry of the country. It would remove 
that fear of Montreal's rivalry which now haunts her fore- 
most merchants. 

Governor Roosevelt then gave utterance in his address 
to the obligations under which the citizens of New York 
were to the gentlemen composing the Committee on Canals 
of New York State, appointed by him, and the New York 
State Commerce Commission appointed by his predecessor, 
Governor Black. He urged that New Yorkers must in the 
first place keep steadily before their minds the all-important 
fact that the canal is not an outworn method of transpor- 
tation. During the lifetime of the present generation the 
canal system has received a greater degree of development 
than the railroad system in every European country, where 
the topographical conditions permit of its existence at all. 



In the second place, the Governor urged that there should 
be no party division on what is primarily and purely an 
economic question, and that the one chance of so building 
this canal that every dollar expended will represent a gain 
of one dollar to the State, lay in building it on the strictest 
business basis, and this necessarily implied that it must not 
be made the football of partisan, factional or personal poli- 
tics. Jn other words, those who build and administer it must 
do their duty solely as administrators and engineers, and not 
as politicians. 

General Francis V. Greene, chairman of the Committee 
on Canals of New York State, spoke on "The Improved 
Canal and its Results." stating the reasons why a ship-canal 
of the length of the Erie Canal would not be economically 
possible, and giving the details of the plan proposed by his 
committee for a one thousand ton barge canal. 

General Greene read an interesting letter from Mr. 
Andrew Carnegie in support of his views, in which Mr. 
Carnegie congratulated the Canal Committee in going far 
enough and not too far. Mr. Carnegie made the following 
pertinent statement in his letter: 

"To spend money upon the present plans for a canal would be a 
mere waste, while to spend the sum you name for a thousand-ton 
barge canal, is, in my opinion, essential if New York is to maintain 
her relative position. The recent purchase of railway stocks of the 
trunk lines by the two more prominent lines, thus insuring mutuality 
of interest, must inevitably work against New York and in favor of 
the shorter rail line to tide water at Newport News, Baltimore and 
Philadelphia. More than ever New York needs water transport to 
attract her share." 

The Hon. Henry W. Hill, Member of the Assembly from 
Erie County, eloquently described the origin of the Erie 
Canal and the growth of Buffalo as well as other cities in 
the interior of New York State. He pointed to the decline 
of commerce of New York City and State plainly shown 
during the last ten years, and referred to the bill providing 
for an appropriation of $200,000 for a survey of the pro- 
posed routes of the new Erie Canal, which he had intro- 
duced in the Assembly. 


The Hon. John D. Kernan of Utica, and Mr. Frank S. 
Baird of Buffalo, followed, urging the importance of the 
improvement of canal transportation to the industries and 
future commercial supremacy of New York State. 

The discussion of the canal question at this dinner stimu- 
lated widespread interest in the proposed improvement and 
contributed materially to the passage of the Canal Survey 

On April 12, 1900, the Committee on Canals of the New 
York Produce Exchange requested the president to address 
letters of thanks to the Hon. Henry W. Hill, Buffalo; the 
Hon. Henry Marshall, Brooklyn; and the Hon. Perez M. 
Stewart, New York, for their valuable aid in the passage of 
the Canal Survey Bill, and at a conference of the represen- 
tatives of commercial organizations of Greater New York, 
consisting of 

The New York Produce Exchange, 

The. New York Board of Trade and Transportation, 

The Merchants' Association of New York, 

The Maritime Association of the Port of New York, 

The Cotton Exchange, 

The Canal Boat Owners' and Commercial Association of 
the State of New York, 

The Canal Forwarders' Association, 

The Mercantile Exchange, 

The Manufacturers' Association of New York, and 

The Italian Chamber of Commerce, 
resolutions were adopted, organizing a permanent associa- 
tion, to be known as "The Canal Association of Greater 
New York," of which all delegates present at the. conference 
from commercial bodies of the city were constituted mem- 
bers. An invitation was albO addressed to all other com- 
mercial bodies of the city to join this association, and to 
appoint one or more delegates to represent them at future 
meetings. An Executive Committee was also appointed with 
instructions to appoint sub-committees, and with full power 
to organize and prosecute the work of impressing upon the 
people of the State of New York the commercial necessity 
of an improved canal. 


At a subsequent meeting of the Executive Committee of 
the Canal Association of Greater New York a Finance Com- 
mittee was appointed, of which Mr. Emil L. Boas was ap- 
pointed chairman, consisting of the following members : 

John P. Truesdell, New York Produce Exchange; 

Henry Hentz, of Henry Hentz & Co. ; 

Franklin Quinby, of Rice, Quinby & Co. ; 

C. L. Adams, New York Lumber Trade Association ; 

John C. Eames, of H. B. Claflin & Co. ; 

S. D. Coykendall, Maritime Association ; 

W. L. Strong, ex-Mayor ; 

Oswald Sanderson, of Sanderson & Son : 

Stuart G. Nelson, Vice-President Seaboard National 

W. A. Nash, President Corn Exchange Bank ; 

Forrest H. Parker, President Produce Exchange Bank ; 

Edwin Langdon, President Central National Bank; 

Geo. L. Putnam, of Sweetser, Pembroke & Co. ; 

Anderson Fowler, New York Produce Exchange ; 

A. B. Hepburn, Vice-President Chase National Bank; 

Gardiner K. Clark, Jr., New York Produce Exchange. 

The Executive Committee appointed a sub-executive 
committee for the conduct of the business of the Associa- 
tion, consisting of Henry B. Hebert, chairman ; Gustav H. 
Schwab, Emil L. Boas, Win. R. Corwine, Frank S. Gardner, 
S. C. Mead, Franklin Quinby, and John J. D. Trenor; and 
also appointed committees on State Agitation and on Meet- 
ings and Speakers. 

It appeared very desirable to secure the support of the 
two political parties for canal improvement; and with this 
end in view it was determined at a meeting of the Committee 
on Canals of the New York Produce Exchange, held on 
August 30, 1900, with a delegation of the Buffalo Mer- 
chants' Exchange and Mr. John D. Kernan of the New 
York State Commerce Commission, to call upon the leaders 
of both parties and to urge upon them the importance of 
securing a plank in the platforms of both parties favoring 


the enlargement and improvement of the canals of the 

After the election of Governor Odell in the fall of 1900, 
the Sub-Executive Committee of the Canal Association of 
Greater New York called upon the Governor-elect at the 
Fifth Avenue Hotel for the purpose of laying before him 
their views on the subject of the improvement and enlarge- 
ment of the Erie Canal, and at this meeting there followed 
an exchange of views between the Governor-elect and the 
committee on the general subject. 

The Canal Association of Greater New York continued 
the agitation in favor of canal enlargement and improvement 
through the distribution of literature and press articles, it 
being considered of the greatest importance to keep the sub- 
ject of canal improvement before the public. 

A recommendation having been made by Governor Odell 
of some improvement in the Erie Canal which did not meet 
with the approval of the friends of canal enlargement, as it 
appeared inadequate, a meeting of the Canal Association of 
Greater New York was held on April 8, 1901, at which the 
following resolutions were adopted : 

Whereas, The commercial organizations within the limits of 
Greater New York represented in the Canal Association of Greater 
New York, as the result of the study of the transportation facilities 
of this State, so far as they bear upon Atlantic ports, have unani- 
mously reached the conclusion that something must be done as 
speedily as possible to enable this port to compete successfully with 
its rival ports in the exporting of grain and other raw materials as 
well as manufactured products; and 

Whereas, As the result of this study, and the practical experi- 
ence of shippers doing business here, they are convinced that the 
best solution of the transportation problem confronting this port is 
the development of the canal system of the State up to the require- 
ments of modern commerce; and 

Whereas, It has been and is the conclusion of this organization 
that the one thousand-ton barge canal is the minimum improvement 
that will answer the needs of the State and Port of New York ; and 

Whereas, This same conclusion was reached by what is known 
as the Greene Commission, the members of which without dissent- 
ing voice, used the following language in its report: 



"In our judgment, arrived at after long consideration, and with 
some reluctance, the State should undertake the larger [meaning the 
i ,ooo- ten] project op the ground that the smaller one is at best a 
temporary makeshift, and that the larger project will permanently 
secure the commercial supremacy of New York, and that this can be 
assured by no other means" ; and again [page 28] : 

"We confine ourselves solely to advising you what in our judg- 
ment is the proper policy for the State to pursue in regard to its 
canals, leaving to those on whom the responsibility rests to decide 
whether these views should be carried into effect. 

"We feel sure that on mature reflection the Legislature and the 
people of the State will ultimately adopt these views. We have 
hesitated to recommend the expenditure of a sum of money which, 
although small in proportion to the resources of the State, is still a 
very great sum, but after much deliberation we are unwilling to 
recommend any temporary or partial settlement of the canal ques- 
tion. We do not believe that the adoption of the smaller plan will 
result in permanent benefit to the State of New York, and as the 
money expended on the smaller project would be almost entirely 
wasted in case a larger project should be determind upon later on, 
we do not feel justified in recommending the expenditure of so large 
a sum as $21,000,000 for a temporary purpose." And 

Whereas, The present Governor of the State has recommended 
an improvement which, in our judgment, does not meet the present 
necessities and will not answer future requirements; and 

Whereas, A bill has been introduced in the Legislature, and is 
now pending therein, shaped upon the recommendations made by the 
Governor with some further improvements, but which does not in- 
clude the improvements we believe are required; now, therefore, 
be it 

Resolved, That we, the Canal Association of Greater New York, 
representing the following organizations within the City of New 

New York Produce Exchange, 
Maritime Association of the Port of New York, 
New York Board of Trade and Transportation, 
Merchants' Association of New York, 
Manufacturers' Association of New York, 
Cotton Exchange, 
Mercantile Exchange, 

Canal Boat Owners' and Commercial Association of the State of 
New York, 

National Wholesale Lumber Dealers' Association, 
New York Lumber Trade Association, 
North Side Board cf Trade, 
Real Estate Exchange, 


Statcn Island Chamber of Commerce, 

Italian Chamber of Commerce, 

Wholesale Grocers' Association, 

Association of Dealers in Building Materials; and 

Paint, Oil and Varnish Club, 

do hereby assert most positively our belief, based upon most careful 
study, that the so-called 1 ,000- ton barge canal is the minimum of 
improvement that should be undertaken, and that the expenditure 
of the money of the State on any less improvement would, there- 
fore, be an unwise expenditure of the public funds ; and, be it 

Resolved, That thus believing, we should be stultifying ourselves 
in accepting or recommending acceptance of any improvement that 
failed to meet the requirements ; and, further, we make the above 
assertion of our position not from any capricious or unreasonable 
criticism of the recommendations recently made by the Governor, 
but in the full consciousness that the gravity of the situation re- 
quires a larger rather than a smaller development, and that it is our 
duty not only to ourselves, but to those whom we represent, that 
this position be made known to the Governor, members of the Legis- 
lature, and the commercial bodies throughout the State, and to the 
public at large; 

Resolved, That the chairman of this meeting be directed to tele- 
graph the Senators and Assemblymen from Greater New York that 
the pending Canal Improvement Bill is not satisfactory and we urge 
them to vote against its passage. 

A committee was appointed by the Sub-Executive Com- 
mittee to urge upon the members of the Legislature from the 
City of New York that they oppose the pending canal bill 
referred to in these resolutions. 

The work of agitation in favor of the improvement of the 
canal system of the State on the one thousand ton barge plan 
was continued, and the Buffalo Merchants' Exchange was 
requested to send a committee to New York to confer with a 
view to securing harmony of action in support of the plan. 
This joint meeting was held on September 3, 1901, the 
Executive Committee of the Canal Association of Greater 
New York, and Messrs. Alfred W. Haines, W. A. Rogers, 
T. S. Fassett, John Cunneen and. G. H. Raymond, repre- 
senting the Buffalo Merchants' Exchange, being present. 


At this meeting the subject of canal enlargement was fully 
discussed and the following resolutions were adopted : 

Whereas, It appears from the action taken by the Buffalo Mer- 
chants' Exchange, and the statements of the Buffalo delegation, here 
present, that the said Exchange and the Canal Association of Greater 
New York are in entire harmony as to the method of improving the 
canals of this State; 

Resolved, That this Association renew its support of the one 
thousand ton barge plan, and direct the sub-executive committee to 
cooperate with a like committee of the Buffalo Merchants' Exchange 
on such plans of campaign as they may agree upon, to secure the 
adoption of the necessary legislation and approval by the people of 
the State of New York." 

The necessity for close cooperation with the Buffalo in- 
terests was so convincing that on October 15, 1901, a com- 
mittee of the Canal Association of Greater New York, at 
the request of the Buffalo Merchants' Exchange, visited 
Buffalo for a conference with the Canal Enlargement Com- 
mittee of that body. At this meeting Mr. Hebert and Mr. 
Corwine, members of the New York Committee, addressed 
the gentlemen present, explaining what action had been 
taken in New York towards the education of the people on 
the subject of the one thousand ton barge canal, and an 
advisory committee, consisting of three from Buffalo and 
three from New York, with power to appoint two or more 
from outside cities, was appointed to confer regarding the 
best course to be pursued in furtherance of the movement 
to build a one thousand ton barge canal. Mr. Henry B. 
Hebert, Mr. Wm. R. Corwine, and Mr. Frank S. Gardner 
were appointed to represent the Canal Association of 
Greater New York on the advisory committee. 

The Maritime Association of the Port of New York at 
this time discontinued its membership in the Canal Associa- 
tion of Greater New York. As it was considered by the 
New York canal interests to be of the greatest importance 
to keep in close touch with the higher State officials, and to 
afford an opportunity for the exchange of views, Mr. 
Gardiner K. Clark, Jr., a prominent and public-spirited 
member of the Canal Association, on December 6, 1901, 


invited Governor Odell, the members of the Sub-Executive 
Committee of the Canal Association of Greater New York, 
and a number of notable men of the city and State, to dinner 
at his house, on which occasion the canal question was fully 
discussed in all its phases. Mr. Andrew Carnegie, one of 
the guests at the dinner, made a most interesting statement 
to the effect "that the Carnegie Steel Company had pur- 
chased 5,coo acres of land surrounding its port of Conneaut 
on Lake Erie, and had the plans ready to begin work at an 
estimated cost of $12,000,000, in which he believed products 
of steel would have been manufactured at a cost less than 
elsewhere. One of the reasons which determined the site 
was that New York State was spending money in enlarging 
the Erie Canal, and the implicit confidence that he and his 
associates had that never would New York State fail to 
enlarge that water-way as needed." Mr. Carnegie continued 
as follows: 

"On the shores of Lake E'ie we had the ironstone of Lake Su- 
perior by water, coke from Pittsburg in empty cars over our own 
railroad, costing us nothing for transportation, and above all, we 
had the facilities for reaching Buffalo and the cities of central and 
eastern New York, Albany, Troy, Syracuse and New York City 
itself, by water. With an enlarged canal, barges could go to any part 
of New England without any transshipment of cargo. On the other ' 
hand, we had those empty barges in which we could bring from 
New York City to our works on the lake the ores which must be 
imported from South Africa and the Caucasus. The saving over 
rail transportation to Philadelphia and Baltimore would be so great 
that the western part of New York on the lakes would inevitably 
become one of the principal seats of manufacture. Nothing can pre- 
vent this if a suitable waterway between Buffalo and the ocean be 
kept open. We intended to manufacture pig iron at Conneaut to 
supply Rochester, Utica, Syracuse, Troy, and, of course, New York 
and the eastern parts, so that the foundries of these cities would 
have cheaper pig iron than ever before. 

"I am certain that the Empire State can maintain her position 
as the Empire State only by developing her manufacturing facilities 
through the Erie Canal. . . . Before that admirable report of 
General Greene's committee was published, I ventured to write 
Governor Roosevelt my views about the canal. It gave me much 
pleasure some time later to learn that the conclusions arrived at by 


that able committee were those which I ventured to express to the 
Governor. These were, briefly, that it would never pay to run big 
ships from Buffalo to New York through any canal, not even a ship- 
canal. It is much cheaper to transfer from a 10,000-ton lake vessel 
to a i,ooo~ton barge, and send it through the canal at slow speed to 
be unloaded alongside into ocean-going ships, than to send an ocean 
or lake vessel through the canal. The time required is too long to 
justify the enormous cost of the ship's crew, interest on capital in- 
volved, etc." 

The dinner was attended by several well-known engineers 
who freely stated their views on the subject of canal im- 
provement based upon their experience in work of this 
character. There was a frank interchange of opinion on 
the subject of the falling off of the commerce of New York 
and on the means for its rehabilitation through the recon- 
struction of the water-ways of the State, thereby placing 
them in a position to compete with the railways and to act 
as regulators of freight rates. In the course of the discus- 
sion Mr. Lewis Nixon, one of the members of the Canal 
Association, made the suggestion that, leaving the canal 
prism at a depth of nine feet, the proposed locks be enlarged 
to accommodate barges of one thousand tons capacity, thus 
leaving the enlargement of the canal prism, a comparatively 
less expensive matter, to the future. 

This proposition met with the favor of the Governor and 
was taken up by him and incorporated in a message to the 
Legislature in the session of 1902, providing for the exten- 
sion and enlargement of the canal locks to the capacity of 
one thousand ton barges and the deepening of the Erie 
Canal prism to nine feet. The Governor in the same mes- 
sage proposed certain improvements in the canal alignment 
between Rexford Flats and the Hudson River. 

A bill was introduced by Senator Davis in the Senate 
carrying out these recommendations of the Governor. The 
Canal Association of Greater New York reluctantly ap- 
proved of the bill as representing half a loaf, and adopted a 
plan for agitation in favor of it through the printing and 
mailing of documents to a large number of voters in the 
State, but without success, as the bill, known as the "Davis 


Canal Bill," failed to pass the Legislature in spite of the 
efforts made by the Canal Association to impress the mem- 
bers with the necessity for an enlarged canal. 

Its defeat was not a cause of much regret, however, as 
the Canal Association greatly preferred a thorough recon- 
struction on modern lines of the water-ways of the State. 
This view found expression at a meeting held by the Canal 
Association of Greater New York on April 15, 1002, when 
the following resolutions were unanimously adopted: 

Resolved, That the Sub-Executive Committee cause to be pre- 
pared a proper bill, having in view the construction of a canal such 
as is favored by this Association, such bill to be submitted to this 
Association at a subsequent meeting, and if approved, to be intro- 
duced in the Legislature as the bill of the Canal Association of 
Greater New York; and, be it further 

Resolved, That the Sub-Committee of this Association be in- 
structed to conduct an active and persistent campaign throughout 
the State, on such lines and in such manner as may in the judgment 
of the Sub-Executive Committee seem wise and desirable.'' 

At a joint meeting of the Sub-Executive Committee of 
the Canal Association and of the Canal Committee of the 
Produce Exchange, held on April 30, 1902, a committee was 
appointed consisting of Messrs. Gustav H. Schwab, Frank 
Brainard, S. C. Mead, Wra. R. Corvvine and Frank S. 
Gardner, which was instructed to consult with the Buffalo 
and Oswego interests and with the State Engineer relative 
to the proper route for a canal : and to submit to the Sub- 
Executive Committee a plan of campaign for a one thousand 
ton barge canal. The committee proceeded to Buffalo where 
they met the State Engineer, Mr. Edward A. Bond, and a 
number of representatives of the Buffalo Merchants' Ex- 
change for the purpose of consultation with regard to the 
future course to be taken by the canal interests. 

The discussion of the subject at this meeting showed that 
the representatives from New York and Buffalo were 
agreed as to the improvement that was essential to give the 
best results to the manufacturing and commercial interests 
of the State; that a feasible and adequate plan of canal 


improvement should be determined upon by New York and 
lWiffalo, and that efforts should be made to secure the coop- 
eration of all the other canal interests of the State; this 
being accomplished it was the unanimous opinion that a 
vigorous campaign should be prosecuted to secure favorable 
action thereupon at the next session of the Legislature. 

After lengthy discussion and consideration the report of 
the committee appointed on April 30, 1902, on the route of 
the canal to be adopted, was presented to the meeting of 
the Sub-Executive Committee of the Canal Association on 
September 2d. This report advised against the adoption of 
the so-called ''Ontario route," i. e., the route by way of Lake 
Ontario to Oswego, and in favor of the so-called "Oneida- 
Seneca route," by way of the present canal to Oswego, 
thence to Oneida Lake, and thence by way of the Mohawk 
valley. The committee reported that the latter route con- 
stitutes the most practicable, the most efficient, and the most 
economical route for a one thousand ton barge canal between 
the Great Lakes and the Hudson River, and that this route 
combines in it the elements that in the opinion of the com- 
mittee will reestablish the preeminence of the commercial 
position of the State and City of New York, and will enable 
the State of New York to build up industries and manufac- 
tures rivalling and even exceeding in importance those of 
other States. 

The report of the committee was adopted by the Canal 
Association and a copy sent to the Canal Enlargement Com- 
mittee in Buffalo, which committee agreed with the con- 
clusions contained in the report. 

In order to enlist the interests of the press in canal im- 
provement, a dinner was given by the Canal Association of 
Greater New York, and the Canal Committee of the New 
York Produce Exchange, on September 11, 1902, to the 
chief editors of the press of Greater New York. At this 
dinner the subject of canal enlargement and its tftcct upon 
the commerce of the State and City of New York was fully 
discussed in all its phases. 

In view of the approaching fall election, a committee was 
appointed by the Sub-Executive Committee of the Canal 


Association of Greater New York to v/ait upon the conven- 
tions of the Republican and Democratic parties of that fail 
for the purpose of urging the adoption by both parties of 
planks in their platforms, advocating the improvement and 
enlargement of the State canals in such manner as to permit 
the passage through the Erie and Oswego Canals of barges 
of one thousand tons capacity, and the deepening of the 
Champlain Canal to seven feet, as recommended by the canal 
committee appointed by Governor Roosevelt. As the result 
of the efforts of this committee the Republican platform of 
that year called for the enlargement and improvement of the 
canals of the State to such an extent as will fully and ade- 
quately meet all requirements of commerce; and the Demo- 
cratic platform pledged the Democratic party to save and 
build up and improve the canals, and contained the follow- 
ing unequivocal pledge : 

"We covenant with the people to prepare and submit to them 
immediately for their sanction a plan of canal improvement provid- 
ing for a barge capacity of 1,000 ions for the Erie and Oswego 
Canals, and adequate and necessary improvement for the other canals 
of the State." 

The success of the efforts of the committee in inducing 
the political parties to commit themselves to canal improve- 
ment was so marked that the Canal Association of Greater 
New York on October 6th, adopted the following resolution : 

Resolved, That the Canal Association of Greater New York, in 
meeting assembled, recognizing the marked advance toward its ideal 
of canal improvement as exemplified by the planks adopted by the 
recent Republican and Democratic conventions held at Saratoga, 
tenders its thanks to the sub-committee attending those conventions, 
and hereby pledges its constant support to the efforts necessary to 
the successful realization thereof." 

The New York canal interests were impressed with the 
necessity for early action in the preparation and introduction 
of a canal measure in the Legislature, and the committee, 
therefore, availed themselves of the valuable services of Mr. 
Abel E. Blackmar, counsel of the New York Produce Ex- 
change, in the drafting of a referendum bill for introduction 


at the next session of the Legislature, providing for the 
construction of a one thousand ton baige canal. The com- 
mittee also secured the efficient aid of Major Thomas W. 
Symons, Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, in the drafting of 
the technical and engineering provisions of the proposed 

In order to awaken public opinion to the evident necessity 
for some remedial action to arrest the alarming symptoms 
of decline in the commerce of New York, a public meeting 
of the members of the New York Produce Exchange, Mr. 
Edward G. Burgess, President of the Exchange presiding, 
was held October 31, 1902, in the managers' room, which 
was addressed by Mayor Low and others, and at which the 
following resolutions were adopted : 

Whereas, The decline of the commerce of the State and Port of 
New York has become so alarming as to threaten the commercial 
supremacy of the State; and 

Whereas, This loss of trade is largely due to the elimination of 
the canal as a regulator of freight rates from the Great Lakes to the 
Hudson; and 

Whereas, The loss of the canal as a factor in transportation has 
placed the traffic of the State under the control of the railroads, 
which have, under a system of differentials in freight rates, diverted 
lake and ocean commerce naturally tributary to this State to ports 
outside of this State; and 

Whereas, This Exchange, through its committee, in cooperation 
with the commercial organizations of the State and city, has advo- 
cated and supported the proposition for the construction of a one- 
thousand-ton barge canal, this being conceded to be the most effica- 
cious means of restoring the traffic conditions which gave to this 
Commonwealth the preeminence in commerce and the name of Em- 
pire State when the Erie Canal dominated the freight rates through 
the State; therefore, be it 

Resolved, That the members of this Exchange, in meeting assem- 
bled, hereby heartily endorse the action of its committee in their 
efforts for the immediate improvement of the State waterways on 
the basis of a 1,000-ton barge capacity, and earnestly appeal to the 
people for their support of this canal project, which is so vital to 
every material interest of this Commonwealth. 


Messrs. Blackmar and Symons, who bad been charged 
with the important duty of drafting the bill for introduction 
in the next session of the Legislature, providing for a vote 
of the people of the State of New York on the question of 
the construction of a one thousand ton barge canal, and who 
had received the valuable aid and advice of the Hon. George 
Clinton of Buffalo, presented their proposed bill at a joint 
meeting of the Committee on Canals of the New York Pro- 
duce Exchange and of the Sub-Executive Committee of the 
Canal Association of Greater New York on December ist, 
with a lengthy report on the proposed measure, and after 
an informal discussion a resolution was finally adopted that 
the canal bill and the report thereon should be printed and 
considered at another meeting ; and in the meantime the 
Committee on Agitation was requested to proceed at once 
to Albany and to lay before the Governor the advantages of 
the inland route as compared with the Oswego-Ontario 
lake route. Major Symons was also requested to lay copies 
of the bill and report before the Canal Enlargement Com- 
mittee of Buffalo for their adoption. 

The Committee on Canals of the New York Produce 
Exchange, and the Sub-Executive Committee of the Canal 
Association of Greater New York on December 18, 1902, 
adopted the following report of a Sub-Committee on Canal 
Tolls, appointed at a previous meeting: 

"Your sub-committee find on careful inquiry among the business 
interests of this city, familiar with canals, that there appears to be a 
general feeling in these business circles adverse to the re-imposition 
of any charge or toll for the use of the canals of this State. As far 
as the observation of your sub-committee goes, the general feeling 
seems to be that the re-adoption of a toll or similar charge on the 
canals would mean a backward step, and a regrettable reversion of 
the enlightened policy adopted by the people of the State in freeing 
the canals from any toll whatever. 

Your sub-committee desires to quote the wise words of a dis- 
tinguished friend of the canals, ex-Governor Horatio Seymour, ad- 
dressed to the Hon. J. W. Higgins, Chairman of the Assembly Com- 
mittee on Canals, on February 27, 18S2, at a time when the amend- 
ment to the Constitution removing the canal tolls was pending. Gov. 
Seymour wrote as follows: 


'As a citizen and as an official, I have studied all questions bear- 
ing upon internal commerce by railroad and by water routes. My 
investigations, which have run through many years, have convinced 
me that the interests of the State demand a liberal policy with regard 
to both of these promoters of its wealth and prosperity. I have, 
therefore, not only urged the reduction of toll, but also that the right 
to carry freight, which some of them did not originally have, should 
be given to the railroads, and that they should be relieved from the 
payment of tolls to the canals, to which many of them were subject. 
The question now is, Shall the State be as wise and liberal towards 
its own canals and boatmen as it has been towards the railroad cor- 
porations? Many seem to think that the question involved in the 
pending amendment is only to determine it the canals shall be sup- 
ported by those who use them, or by taxation upon all parts of the 
State. This is very far from being a true view. Tolls are taxes of 
the most hurtful kind to the whole community. ... The object of 
the amendment is not only to relieve our boatmen and to save our 
canals, but to lighten taxation in every part of the State. That it 
will do this can be shown not only bv reason, but more clearly by 
experience. When our canals were first projected, they were opposed 
because it was feared that, while they might benefit some sections, 
they would injure others away from their lines. This proved to be 
the reverse of the truth. The wise way to lighten taxation is to add 
to the wealth and prosperity of the community. Since the com- 
pletion of the canals the ratio of taxation upon the extreme northern 
and southern sections of New York has been reduced, while the 
markets for their products have been improved and enlarged." 

The business interests of this city are apprehensive that the im- 
position of a toll will impair the efficiency of the canals as com- 
petitors of the railroads. In the letter that we have referred to 
Gov. Seymour writes as follows upon the subject of the relations 
between the railroads and the canals: 

"What the policy of a railroad corporation may be in the future 
we cannot foresee; but this we know, while our canals are main- 
tained and their traffic is untaxed, the State will always be protected 
from hurtful combinations ... So long as they are kept in good 
condition, we shall be saved from the evils of combinations or unjust 
discriminations against our State. If they do not carry a pound of 
freight, it would be wise to keep them in order, so that they would 
be ready for use to defeat unjust and hurtful charges against the 
business of New York." 

Governor Seymour concludes his letter as follows: 

"The chief element in the prosperity of every State or Nation is 
the economy of transportation of persons and property. It is the 
most marked fact in the difference between civilization and bar- 

Your committee fully recognize the force of the argument that 
the magnitude of the work to be undertaken by the State and the 
enormous outlay that it calls for, justifies the imposition of a mod- 


erate charge upon the interests that will directly benefit from the 
contemplated improvement of the canals. Against this argument 
your committee point to the indisputable advantages that will accrue 
to the State at large, and the incalculable accretions that its resources 
will receive. The benefits of the proposed improvement will, there- 
fore, not merely apply to a few business interests, but will, in the 
opinion of your committee, be co-extensive with the limits of the 
State itself. 

Your committee are well aware of the fact that, as far as they are 
informed, all foreign canals are operated under the toll system and 
that, therefore, is no reason why the proposed improved waterway, 
ranking second only to the proposed Panama Canal, should form an 
exception to the rule. But your committee venture to urge that the 
Erie Canal plainly occupies a position radically different from that 
of any other canal in that it forms the sole possible competitor of 
numerous powerful and allied railroad lines leagued together for the 
purpose of so directing traffic as to deprive the State and City of 
New York of that share of commerce to which they are entitled. 
As the chief reason for the existence and improvement of the canal 
at present lies in its efficiency as a regulator of freight rates and a 
competitor with the railroad, your committee believe that the rules 
applicable to other canals cannot obtain here. 

After a full consideration of the proposition to re-impose tolls 
upon the canals submitted to your sub-committee, your committee 
believe that the best interests of the State as a whole would be sub- 
served by the continuance of the wise policy of free canals adopted 
in 1882 until experience has shown that the traffic of the improved 
canal can without peradventure support a moderate charge for the 
maintenance of the State's artificial waterways. Your committee, 
therefore, desire to recommend the adoption of the resolution sub- 
mitted at the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Canal As- 
sociation on the 15th instant, reading as follows: 

Resolved, That the Canal Association of Greater New York is 
of the opinion that the question of toll upon the traffic of the pro- 
posed improved canal should be deferred until experience has dem- 
onstrated what toll may be safely imposed without impairing the ef- 
ficiency of the canals." 

A copy of this report was sent to the Governor for his 

At the end of December, 1902, a committee, consisting of 
Messrs. Henry B. Hebert, Gustav H. Schwab and Gardiner 


K, Clark, Jr., proceeded to Albany for a conference with 
GoVernor Odell on the subject of canal improvement, at 
which the Governor read to the committee extracts from his 
forthcoming message upon this subject, and suggested that 
the Canal Association follow up the proposed canal legisla- 

On January 13, 1903, the Executive Committee of the 
Canal Association formally accepted and adopted the bill 
prepared by Mr. Abel E. Blackmar and Major Thomas W. 
Symons, Corps of Engineers U. S. Army, with the aid of 
Hon. George Clinton, for the proposed one thousand ton 
barge canal. It instructed the Sub-Executive Committee to 
introduce the bill in the Legislature and to use every honor- 
able means to secure its passage. The bill was thereupon 
introduced in the Assembly by the Hon. Chas. F. Bostwick 
of New York, and in the Senate by the Hon. Geo. A. Davis 
of Buffalo. It was entitled "An Act making provision for 
issuing bonds to the amount of not to exceed one hundred 
and one million dollars for the improvement of the Erie 
Canal, the Oswego Canal, and the Champlain Canal, and 
providing for a submission of the same to the people to be 
voted upon at the general election to be held in the year 
nineteen hundred and three." 

Section 1 provided that bonds of the State in an amount 
not to exceed one hundred and one million dollars shall be 
issued and sold for the improvement of the Erie Canal, the 
Oswego Canal and the Champlain Canal. 

Section 3 directed the Superintendent of Public Works 
and the State Engineer to proceed to improve the Erie 
Canal, the Oswego Canal, and the Champlain Canal on the 
route beginning at Troy on the Hudson River, thence to 
Waterford, thence westward to the Mohawk River above 
Cohoes Falls, thence in the Mohawk River canalized to a 
point about six miles east of Rome, thence to and down the 
valley of Wood Creek to Oneida Lake, thence through 
Oneida Lake to Oneida River, thence down the Oneida 
River to Three River Point, thence up the Seneca River to 
the mouth of Crusoe Creek, thence north to the New York 
Central Railroad to a junction with the present Erie Canal 


about one and eight-tenths miles east of Clyde, thence fol- 
lowing substantially the present route of the canal with 
necessary changes and running across the country south of 
Rochester to a junction with the Niagara River at Tona- 
wanda, thence by Niagara River and Black Rock Harbor to 
Buffalo and Lake Erie. The Oswego Canal was to be im- 
proved from a junction of the Oswego, Seneca, and Oneida 
rivers northward to a junction with Lake Ontario on the 
route of the Oswego River canalized and the present 
Oswego Canal. 

The route of the Champlain Canal as improved was to 
begin at the Hudson River at Water ford, thence up the 
Hudson River canalized to near Fort Edward, thence fol- 
lowing the route of the Champlain Canal to Lake Cham- 

The Erie, Oswego, and Champlain canals were to be 
improved so that the canal prism in regular canal sections 
shall have a minimum bottom width of 75 feet, and a mini- 
mum depth of 12 feet. On the rivers and lakes the canal 
was to have a minimum bottom width of 200 feet and a 
minimum depth of 12 feet. Full and explicit directions 
were contained in this section with regard to the construction 
of the locks, bridges, dams, and a harbor in Onondaga Lake 
for Syracuse, and connection from the new line of the Erie 
Canal south of Rochester into the city of Rochester with a 
harbor at the northerly end. 

Section 8 authorized the Governor to employ five expert 
civil engineers to act as an Advisory and Consulting Board 
of Engineers, whose duty it was to be to assist the State 
Engineer and Superintendent of Public Works to exercise 
a general supervision over the work in progress and to re- 
port thereon from time to time to the Governor, the State 
Engineer, and the Superintendent of Public Works, as they 
might require, or as the Board might deem proper and 

Section 14 provided that any surplus from the sale of the 
bonds, the sale of the abandoned lands over and above the 
cost of the entire work of the improvement shall be applied 
tc the sinking fund for the payment of the bonds. 



The Sub-Executive Committee remained in constant 
touch with the friends of the canal improvement in the 

At a conference held in Albany on January 26, 1903, with 
canal interests from other parts of the State, a Legislative 
Committee was appointed consisting of Mr. Gustav H. 
Schwab, to represent New York interests, Mr. Alfred W. 
Haines to represent Buffalo interests, Mr. Frederick O. 
Clarke to represent Oswego interests, and Mr. Frank S. 
Witherbee to represent the Champlain interests. Hon. 
George Clinton of Buffalo, Mr. Gustav H. Schwab, Mr. 
Wm. R. Corwine, Major Thomas. W. Symons, Prof. Wm. 
H. Burr, Mr. Geo. S. Morison and Mr. A. E. Blackmar 
appeared at the joint hearings held by the Canal Committee 
of the Senate and Assembly and presented arguments in 
favor of the bill. 

The plans and estimates upon which was based the cost 
of canal improvement proposed in the canal bill presented to 
the Legislature w T ere the result of a study of years by a body 
of engineers whose operations were characterized (as stated 
by Prof. William K. Burr, Professor of Engineering in 
Columbia University, and a member of the Isthmian Canal 
Commission) by a degree of thoroughness and technical 
preparation which has never been excelled in the considera- 
tion of any similar engineering question. The Board of 
Consulting Engineers and its staff in preparing the estimates 
and plans, besides making complete surveys and careful 
investigations of all questions connected with the matter, 
had before them a great mass of surveys and examinations 
made by the United States Deep Waterways Commission 
along a large portion of the line of the proposed improved 
waterway. The plans and estimates after their development 
by the Board of Consulting Engineers and its staff were 
also laid before, the Advisory Board of Engineers, consisting 
of Professor Burr; Mr. George S. Morison, 1 Past President 
of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a member 
of the Isthmian Canal Commission; Mr. Elnathan Sweet, 
the former State Engineer; Major Kingman, Corps of 

1. George Shattuck Morison, the distinguished engineer, died in 1903. 


Engineers U. S. Army; Major Thomas W. Symons, Corps 
of Engineers U. S. Army; and Mr. Alfred Noble, President 
of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and in charge 
of the construction of the Pennsylvania Railroad terminal 
in New York City. The emphatic opinion expressed by 
Mr. Morison, Prof. Burr, Major Symons and Mr. Noble 
before the legislative committees of both Houses was that 
the estimates, upon which the one thousand ton barge canal 
plan was based, w r ould be sufficient and would not be ex- 
ceeded. In this connection Prof. Burr made the following 
statement before the Joint Canal Committee of both Houses: 

"This work cannot be done in a season ; it would be spread over 
a number of years, and it is as certain as anything human can be 
that when so great a work as this shall be undertaken, special plans, 
special appliances, efficient organizations, and all those things which 
go to make up a businesslike treatment of the work will reduce the 
cost materially below these figures, which apply to ordinary quan- 
tities of such work performed under ordinary conditions." 

Mr. Morison at the hearing stated as follows : 

"I believe that if it is properly handled, with a competent set of 
engineers and a competent staff of inspectors, with a perfectly fair 
letting and everything handled in the best way in which the best 
management handles it, this canal can be built inside the estimate." 

The provisions adopted in the canal bill to guard against 
the possibility of fraud and waste in connection with the 
construction of the canal were most stringent. Under the 
provisions adopted in the bill the work was to be divided 
into suitable sections, each of which was to be under the 
charge of a resident engineer, with assistant engineers and 
inspectors, all to be appointed by the State Engineer. It 
was provided that contractors should be under bonds for the 
faithful performance of their contracts, and the same guar- 
antees were required of these contractors that are demanded 
by the United States Government in the construction of 
public works. Unbalanced bids, which have been the fruit- 
ful source of corruption in the past, were prevented by a 
provision in the act prohibiting the award of any contracts 
to a bidder whose bid as a whole or in any items varied more 


than a fixed percentage from the estimate of the State 
Engineer, unless the variation could be explained to the 
satisfaction of the State Engineer and the Canal Board, 
consisting of the Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, 
Comptroller, State Treasurer, Attorney General, Superin- 
tendent of Public Works, and the State Engineer and Sur- 
veyor. Work before being contracted for had to be adver- 
tised once a week for four weeks in newspapers in the cities 
of New York, Albany, Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse, 
also in each county in which the particular piece of work 
is located. The bill gave the Canal Board full power to 
assume the direction and control of the work when it ap- 
peared that the quantity of any item of work was unduly 
over-running the Engineer's estimate, and provided further 
for the appointment of a Board of Advisory Engineers to 
be named by the Governor, to advise and aid the State 
Engineer and Superintendent of Public Works, and to 
exercise general supervision over the work. 

After a considerable discussion the combined canal in- 
terests of the State agreed to amend the canal bill by pro- 
viding for the improvement of the Champlain Canal to the 
same depth as the Erie Canal, making all the canals of 
uniform depth. 

The Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York 
at a meeting held on February 19, 1903, unanimously 
adopted the following resolution, and ordered copies sent to 
the Governor of the State and to the members of both 
Houses of the Legislature: 

Resolved, That the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New 
York hereby approves the proposition now pending in the Legislature 
of this State for the improvement of the Erie Canal, the Oswego 
Canal, and the Champlain Canal by the construction of what is popu- 
larly termed the 1,000-ton barge canal, and we respectfully urge the 
Legislature to enact the legislation necessary to enable the same to 
be submitted to and voted upon by the people at the general election 
to be held in the year 1903." 

Mr. A. Barton Hepburn, Chairman of the Committee on 
Internal Trade and Improvements of the Chamber of Com- 


rnerce, in presenting - this resolution made the following 
remarks : 

"The canals were completed to the depth of seven feet in 1862, 
and since then nothing has been done to increase the navigable ca- 
pacity of the canals. What have the railroads done in the past forty 
years? They have increased the maximum railroad train capacity 
from 300 tons or 10,000 bushels of wheat to 2,700 tons or 90,000 
bushels of wheat. The capacity of a canal boat plying the Erie Cana! 
30 years ago was 220 tons, equal to 74 per cent, of a train load; to- 
day it is 240 tons, which equal 0.088 per cent, of the maximum train 
load of today. Since 1862 the New York Central & Hudson River 
Railroad has increased the number of miles of road which it controls 
and operates 9,658 miles, capitalized at nearW three-quarters of a bil- 
lion dollars, gridironing the East and Central West in its laudable 
ambition to reach and control business. The Baltimore & Ohio has 
spent for equipment, betterment, and improvements in the past two 
years $15,000,000, and has contracted for or determined upon the ex- 
penditure of as much more. The Lehigh & Wilkesbarre has ex- 
pended $8,000,000 in the past two years for the same purpose ; the 
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western $10,000,000, the Erie $7,500,000 
and now has authorized a bend issue of $50,ooo,o:.o for improve- 
ments and equipments. The New York Central has expended 
$7,500,000, and is about to expend upon its terminals $40,000,000. 
The greatest of all our railroads, the Pennsylvania, has expended 
$45,000,000 recently to improve its efficiency, has a $50,000,000 tunnel 
on hand and bridge construction and other improvements, the cost 
of which I won't venture to estimate. All this has been done by 
railroads terminating in New York, and hence competitors of our 
canals. Curves must be straightened and grades reduced, the ca- 
pacity and facility of equipment increased, and no one doubts and 
no one questions that it is wise economy and good business judgment. 
If it is wise economy and good judgment as applied to railroads, is 
it not incumbent upon the great State of New York to apply these 
principles in the management of our system of canals? ... In 
their present unsatisfactory condition the canal transportation for 
the year 1001 amounted to 3,420,613 tons, 1,113,617 tons of which 
had for its terminus the city of New York, or about 25 per cent, of 
the total. The canals should be maintained primarily as a regulator 
of the cost of transportation as fixed by the railroads, and for this 
purpose their annual worth to the commercial and business interests 
of the State would exceed their annual cost. Secondly, they are 


needed to supplement as well as rival the railroad traffic of the 

"When the anthracite miners' strike was declared off and coal 
was being mined in abundance, the community still suffered because 
of the inability of the railroads to transport and deliver the same. 
There has been a terminal congestion of freight in all the larger 
cities and business centers of the country. Even the Pennsylvania 
Rajlroad had to lay off its twenty-hour passenger train to Chicago in 
order that the trackage might be used in distributing the freight of 
the company and relieving the congestion. 

"Under these circumstances the great State of New York ought 
to conserve the business interests of its citizens and defend its own 
primacy by applying the principles and rules of management of the 
conduct of its canals wh'ch business experience and business fore- 
sight have proven to be necessary in order to preserve and promote 
the efficiency of private transportation enterprises." 

On March n, 1903, the Committee on Agitation sub- 
mitted a plan for the publication of a "Canal Primer" for 
educational purposes in connection with the agitation in 
favor of the passage of the proposed canal bill, which was 
approved. This canal primer was entitled "The Canal 
System of New York State; What it Was; What it is; 
What it has done for the Commonwealth and the Nation, 
and what Benefits the Empire State will derive from the 
Proposed Improvements/' and contained in the form of 
questions and answers an exhaustive study of the origin, 
development, and influence of the canal system of the State. 

Upon the passage by the Legislature of the canal bill pro- 
viding for the submission of the question of the proposed 
canal enlargement to the people at the general election in 
the fall of the same year, a carefully considered plan for an 
educational campaign was adopted consisting of the follow- 
ing principal features : 

1. The publication of canal literature through the news- 

2. The distribution of canal literature through letters, 
pamphlets, leaflets, posters ; also agitation of the subject of 
canal improvement through speakers. 

3. Public interviews with persons of importance advo- 
cating canal improvement. 


4. Mass meetings. 

A competent manager with a proper staff was appointed 
to carry out this plan of canal agitation ; and on conference 
with the Buffalo interests the entire campaign of agitation 
and education was placed in the hands of a "Canal Improve- 
ment State Committee," consisting of delegates from New 
York, Buffalo, Oswego, and Champlain. Messrs. Henry 
B. Hebert, Gustav H. Schwab and Frank Brainard were 
appointed the New York representatives on the Canal Im- 
provement State Committee, and at the first meeting of this 
committee Mr. Gustav H. Schwab was elected chairman, 
and Mr. Henry B. Hebert treasurer. 

A canal textbook for the use of speakers and editors was 
prepared of which a large number of copies were ordered 
printed. This book presented in compact form for ready 
reference all the facts underlying the demand for the im- 
provement and modernization of the waterway system of 
New York State. The contents of the canal text-book in- 
cluded the substance of the one thousand ton barge canal 
bill, the essential portions of the report of the State Engineer 
and Surveyor, presenting details of construction and precise 
estimates of cost, the opinions of experts on waterway con- 
struction in support of the plans and estimates of cost, the 
general consensus of opinion of the representative commer- 
cial organizations and leading men of the State, giving the 
reasons and the justification for the improvement of the 
Erie Canal as proposed under the one thousand ton barge 
canal plan following the "canalized Mohawk River, Oneida 
Lake, Seneca Route.'" 

A conference of editors from the central part of the State 
was arranged at Syracuse in the summer of 1903, at which 
the editors were entertained at dinner and the canal improve- 
ment plan was discussed in all its bearings. 

The detailed plans of the Canal Improvement State Com- 
mittee after careful consideration proposed the concentration 
of the work of education and agitation along the line of the 
canal and at its termini, it being considered useless to at- 
tempt any organized work of enlightenment or education in 
the counties of the line of the canal and not tributary to it, 


which were conceded to the enemy. Systematic work was 
begun among- the labor unions and in counties along the 
Hudson River and tributary to the Oswego, Champlain and 
the Erie Canals. Conferences were also held with represen- 
tatives of the Liquor Dealers' Association, to secure the sup- 
port of that body. 

The newspapers were provided with so-called "boiler 
plate" matter and large editions of the canal primer and 
text-book were ordered and distributed. A committee was 
appointed to confer with the various political organizations 
of Greater New York for the purpose of securing their 
endorsement of canal improvement. In the autumn of 1903 
large public meetings were arranged at Thr?,e Rivers, On- 
ondaga County, and Sylvanbeach, Oneida County, at which 
members of the committee, and representatives of the Canal 
Association and of the Canal Improvement State Committee 
spoke. The county fairs along the line of the canals were 
supplied with pamphlets and leaflets containing a compari- 
son of the amounts received and contributed by the counties 
towards their support, and a dinner and reception for editors 
and business men was arranged at Utica at which the pro- 
posed canal improvement was fully discussed. Meetings 
were also arranged at various other parts in the interior of 
the State near the lines of the canals. 

At the solicitation of the Canal Association of Greater 
New York the Board of Aldermen of the City of New York 
on October 6, 1903, passed resolutions in favor of the one 
thousand ton barge canal. 

Systematic work was undertaken among the Italians 
throughout the State through the efficient aid of Mr. John 
J. D. Trenor, a member of the New York Produce Ex- 
change, who by reason of his long residence in Italy had 
acquired a thorough knowledge of the Italian language. 

The New York Produce Exchange Canal League was 
formed in the New York Produce Exchange on September 
14, 1903, under the chairmanship of Mr. Albert Kinkel, a 
prominent member of the Exchange, which League arranged 
for a very successful meeting on the floor of the Exchange 
on October 20th, Mr. Albert Kinkel presiding, at which 


Mayor Low, Ex-Mayors Chas. A. Schieren and David A. 
Boody, Messrs. Wm. F. King, Lewis Nixon, Assemblyman 
Bostwick, Henry B. Hebert and Professor Stevenson, of 
New York University, made addresses. The League also 
distributed a large quantity of campaign buttons. 

A suitable press representative was engaged to supply 
the metropolitan press with canal matter and a large edition 
of small maps was printed, showing the old and the new 
canal with explanatory text on the reverse side. The gen- 
eral attitude of the press of New York City was, with very 
few exceptions, in favor of the improvement. Chief among 
the exceptions were the New York Sun and the New York 
Herald. The New York Sun was active in its opposition. 
Mr. Gustav H. Schwab, chairman of the Canal Improvement 
State Committee, cabled Mr. James Gordon Bennett in 
Europe, urging him to instruct the New York Herald to 
support the movement, but no reply was received. 

The Order of Acorns, which was established in New 
York City for good government, was approached by the 
Canal Association of Greater New York and agreed to 
advocate canal improvement at its meetings in Greater New 
York. Committees were appointed to confer with the 
speakers' bureaus of the Democratic, Republican, Citizens' 
Union and Socialist Labor and Prohibition parties. The 
Citizens' Union agreed to advocate canal improvement 
through its campaign speakers. 

The number of papers supplied with "boiler-plate" matter 
during the last months of the campaign was 750. 

A dinner was given by the Canal Association of Greater 
New York on October 6, 1903, Mr. Henry B. Hebert pre- 
siding, to the editors of the metropolitan press, at which 
the canal enlargement was discussed. 

General Francis V. Greene, one of the speakers at the 
dinner, referred to the question of the ability of the State 
to pay one hundred millions of dollars for canal improve- 
ment. He pointed to the assessment for the year 1903 for 
the State of New York, which was about six billions of 
dollars, and drew attention to the fact that the annual in- 
terest and sinking fund requirement would amount to but 


one tenth of one per cent, on the total valuation of six billion 
dollars. As to the question whether the waterway would 
benefit the State, General Greene called attention to the fact 
that water transportation is cheaper than rail transportation 
and that, if a waterway as proposed is established, commerce 
will inevitably seek it, just as water runs down hill. He 
pointed' to the fact that during the ten years from 1889 to 
1900 the State of Pennsylvania outside of the city of Phila- 
delphia increased in population by several hundred thousand 
more than the State of New York outside of the city of 
New York, and urged that, through cheap transportation, 
conditions would be created favorable to the development of 
industries throughout the State. A large part of the opposi- 
tion to the canal, General Greene said, came from the fact 
that here in New York are the owners, to a large extent, of 
the railroads that run to Newport News ; to other points on 
the South Atlantic coast ; down the Mississippi River to the 
Gulf; to Galveston; and eastward to Boston. The owners 
of these roads were quite willing that differentials should 
be made injuring the commerce of New York. But, General 
Greene proceeded, it was not to the interest of New York 
to build up. what he might call, a landlord system of owner- 
ship here of roads whose interests are allied with the pros- 
perity of other States. What was needed, he said, to keep 
prosperity of this State, so to speak, on an even keel, is to 
build up the State itself, not by mere ownership of stocks 
and bonds, but by manufactories, and by commerce, and by 
having through this State the cheapest and best route of 
transportation which commerce will then inevitably seek. 

Hon. George Clinton, of Buffalo, another guest at the 
dinner, referred to the lack of enthusiasm shown by the 
press of New York City in the canal plan. He urged the 
great advantage accruing to the State of New York through 
cheapness in transportation, comparing the rate on the canal 
and on the lakes with the railroad rates of freight, and 
ended with a plea to rehabilitate the canal as a regulator of 

Col. Symons gave some very interesting details with 
regard to the estimates for the one thousand ton barge canal 


and the way in which these estimates had hcen arrived at. 
He referred paiticularly to the Board of Advisory En- 
gineers, who were consulted in the preparation of the esti- 
mates and the drafting- of the bill, and assured the assem- 
bled company that the canal route was properly selected ; 
that the estimates were ample, and more than ample ; and 
that the bill provided such safeguards that the money would 
be honestly, efficiently and economically expended. 

Hon. Lewis Nixon addressed himself particularly to the 
question of the type of canal and answered the objections 
that were made to the barge canal act on the plea that a ship 
canal would be more efficient. He drew attention to the fact 
that great ships of 10,000 tons and more would be an im- 
possibility in the proposed canal and could not be econom- 
ically operated in such a waterway, but that freight must 
be transferred in Buffalo from the lake steamer to the 
barge, and at the seaboard from the barge to the ocean 
steamer in order to complete a cheap and economical route 
of transportation from the interior to Europe. Mr. Nixon 
closed with an appeal to the business interests of New York 
to show the voter at the approaching election that every call- 
ing, profession and trade in the State of New York was 
directly and vitally interested in the great question of canal 
improvement. They should approach the leaders of the 
two political parties and tell them that the two great parties 
should fight hand in hand, as they were forced to do by the 
people of this nation when they demanded a mighty navy. 

Mr. Blackmar gave some interesting statistics on the dis- 
crimination practiced by the railroads against New York 
City and the relative growth of the tonnage of the export 
trade from other ports as compared with New York. He 
did net attempt to cast any blame upon the railroad com- 
panies for the decline of commerce in the port of New York, 
as they were acting for their own interests, and he had no 
doubt but that the railroad companies, whose only interests 
are in the port of New York (if there are any such) would 
advocate the abrogation of the differentials, but Mr. Black- 
mar urged that with the people the question was not the 
financial interests of the stockholders of the roads, but the 


continued commercial supremacy of New York. With the 
barge canal in operation the differential agreement (if it 
should be maintained) could not seriously affect our com- 
merce. Commerce flowing along the line of least resistance 
then would pass through the canal. Mr. Blackmar quoted 
from the decision of the Interstate Commerce Commission 
in the case of the New York Produce Exchange against the 
railroad companies forming the Joint Traffic Association 
the following words: 

"It must be borne in mind that the grain of New York does not 
reach that port from the interior exclusively by rail. The canal has 
brought in the past a very considerable portion of that traffic and it 
is to this water communication between the West and East that 
New York has largely owed its predominance in the foreign trade. 
Now these differentials have nothing to do with grain moving by 
canal. Their purpose is merely to divide fairly between the dif- 
ferent competing lines the export business which moves by rail. If 
for any reason the canal were to be entirely shut up so that no grain 
could be transported by it, it would by no means follow that the 
grain which had formerly come to New York by canal ought now 
to come there by rail. Quite the contrary. This canal traffic ought 
now to be distributed in the same proportions over the various lines 
leading to the different ports. New York has no vested right in the 
having of so much grain shipped to that port. The canal has been a 
most important element in her commercial supremacy. If that ele- 
ment drops out, J_:e must expect to lose that portion of her suprem- 
acy which was due to it. . . . The great supremacy of New York 
in the past has been measurably due to its canal. If it would hold 
that supremacy in the future, it must give attention to that same 
waterway. The testimony as to the excessive elevator charges upon 
canal grain is not material to this investigation, but it is extremely 
suggestive in connection with the facts as above referred to. If the 
canal were to be restored today to the same position in this carrying 
trade that it has occupied in the twenty years past, the commerce of 
the port of New York could not suffer." 

Senator Henry W. Hill of Buffalo referred to the con- 
vincing words of the previous speakers and urged that the 
people of New York should not let slip the golden oppor- 
tunity offered to them at the coming election to approve the 
referendum bill. He stated that every objection that mortal 


could point to in the referendum bill had been raised against 
it, and that the light that had been waged in the Legislature 
during the last ten years had been the fiercest tight that had 
ever been waged in any legislature in the history of the 
world. He referred to the waterway, not over twenty miles 
long, recently constructed by the city of Chicago, which 
spent $38,000,000, and asked if in view of this example this 
great State of New York should not be willing to spend 
$101,000,000 for a canal over 350 miles long. Senator Hill 
also drew attention to the expenditures made by the Cana- 
dian, the English, the German, and the French Governments 
in the improvement of their waterways, and appealed to the 
progressive spirit of the age to surmount all obstacles to the 
progress and prosperity of New York City. 

As the result of this dinner canal articles appeared in 
fifteen of the daily papers, averaging one column in length. 

A most efficient "cart-tail campaign" was organized by 
the Canal Improvement State Committee under the manage- 
ment of Mr. Wm. McConnell of the New York Board of 
Trade and Transportation. During the last weeks of the 
campaign sixty speakers were employed in this cart-tail 
campaign, speaking for canal improvement. Literature was 
distributed at over 1,000 mass meetings, at all ferries and 
many factories. 

All of the metropolitan papers, except the New York 
Sun, the New York Herald and the New York Telegram, 
consented to publish a letter on the eve of the election signed 
by prominent men in favor of canal improvement. 

Towards the end of October, 1903, Mr. Gustav H. 
Schwab was obliged to leave for Europe on the advice of his 
physician for a needed rest, and Mr. Chas. A. Schieren took 
the chairmanship of the Canal Improvement State Com- 
mittee during the last two weeks of the campaign. 

On October 30, 1903, a mass-meeting was held in Cooper 
Union, Ex-Mayor Schieren presiding, at which General 
Stewart L. Woodford, Senator Grady, Messrs. Eird S. 
Coler and Wm. F. King, Assemblymen Bostwick and 
Hornidge, and Mr. Robert Campbell, of the Central Fed- 
erated Union, spoke ; and other mass-meetings were held in 


Brooklyn and on Statcn Island in the last days of the cam- 

The strenuous work undertaken by the canal interests of 
the State resulted in the triumph of canal improvement 
through the adoption by the people at the general election 
on November 3, 1903, of the one thousand ton barge canal 

The majority vote given in favor of canal improvement 
was 245,312. 

The railroad companies with their combinations are now 
powerless to hinder the splendid development of the Empire 
State and her supremacy in commerce and manufactures. 
Her commerce will be benefited by the assurance for all time 
of an independent means of communication between the 
seaboard and the Great West which will create prosperity 
along its path. Her manufactures will be benefited by the 
reduction of freight rates both on raw materials and on 
finished products, an advantage th?t cannot fail to attract 
to this favored territory not only those industries dependent 
on the metals but countless workers in other materials. 

The farmer of the State of New York will be benefited 
by the growth of the capacity for consumption of his home 
market and by the cheapening of transportation on his pro- 
ducts and of everything he buys. 

The working man will benefit through the upbuilding of 
manufacturing industries throughout the State and by the 
reduction in the price of the necessities of life which the 
lowering of the rates of freight on the improved canal will 
bring about. 

Finally, the railroad companies will be the principal bene- 
ficiaries of the improved canal system of the State as the 
multiplication of industries and the growth of commerce will 
insure to them increased business. 

[•■•' ■ ; 







1< ' : fh ' 

■ \ 














Chairman of the Canal Association of Greater New York; Chairman, Committee 
on Canals, New York Produce Exchange; etc.. etc. 

Prior to 1882 the railroads terminating at New York, 
Philadelphia and Baltimore sharply competed for business 
for their respective home ports. This strife led to cutting 
of rates to ruinous figures, resulting in great financial losses 
to each of the contestants. To stop these freight wars and 
to establish a traffic agreement, these corporations met in 
joint session and at a conference held in January, 1882, 
Messrs. Allen G. Thurman, Elihu B- Washburn and T. M. 
Cooley were appointed an advisory committee to inquire 
into and report "upon the difference in rates that shall exist 
both eastbound and westbound upon all classes of freight 
between the several terminal Atlantic ports." In making a 
report July 20, 1882, this railroad commission declared for 
a cheaper freight rate from an initial western point of ship- 
ment to Baltimore and to Philadelphia than to New York. 
Upon this declaration the trunk lines entered into an agree- 
ment and established a rate of three cents per 100 pounds 
to Baltimore and two cents per 100 pounds to Philadelphia 
cheaper than to New York. 

This preferential in the rate was not only an offset to the 
superior trade conditions enjoyed at New York, but it also 
removed to Chicago the control of ocean transportation, this 

57 ^ 0^ 


having been one of the chief factors in the commerce of the 
metropolis. This change of base gave the trunk lines the 
power to make a through rate upon land and sea from 
Chicago to any foreign point, the C. I. F. price being equal 
no matter through which Atlantic port the goods were 
transhipped. Under this traffic arrangement New York was 
reduced to the level of its competitors as a seaport, and its 
commerce was subject to the designs of a traffic monopoly. 
In the winter of 1877-1878, the New York Central & 
Hudson River Railroad Company put into commission a 
terminal elevator for the storage and transfer of grain at 
the foot of Sixtieth Street, New York City. Soon after- 
wards the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Erie Railroad 
erected similar structures. Grain taken into these elevators 
was charged for a term of storage but was subject to free 
delivery by lighter to points about the harbor. This lighter- 
age service cost the railroads about one-half cent per bushel ; 
when vessels loaded at these elevators this expense was 
obviously saved for the carriers. No charge other than the 
cost of trimming cargo in the vessel was imposed for this 
delivery and this charge the vessel paid. This style of 
loading export grain became general for "full cargo" ship- 
ments ; it was a profitable transaction both for the railroads 
and the grain shipper. In the course of a cereal year this 
business was very large and it incidentally attracted to New 
York the tramp steamer trade, giving employment to a great 
number of citizens, and yearly leaving in the city for steamer 
repairs and supplies vast sums of money. There apparently 
was no reason for disturbing this method of business, as on 
a delivery of 200,000 bushels to a vessel loaded at the eleva- 
tor, there was a saving to the railroads for lighterage ser- 
vice of about $1000; and for the exporter it was an easy 
and expeditious mode of shipment. Yet the railroads, 
doubtless in accord with the discriminating differentials 
established by the Advisory Commission, put a further 
handicap upon the commerce of the port in the announce- 
ment that on and after July 25, 1882, all grain delivered into 
ocean-bound vessels at the railroad elevators would be 
charged one cent per bushel extra for such delivery. This 


unreasonable tax upon export grain put a stop to this loading 
and diverted the business to Baltimore and to Philadelphia, 
and later built Newport News. The diversion of this busi- 
ness and loss of other business depending- upon it, was a 
blow to the commerce of the State and city of New York, 
York, and hastened the decline that caused Governor Black 
in 1898 to appoint a State commission to inquire into its 

No organization suffered more from loss of business 
through the operations of the differentials than the New 
York Produce Exchange, and no commercial body in the 
State has been more active and aggressive in the movement 
for their abolition. At different periods since 1882, the 
Exchange has energetically protested through various com- 
mittees against the enforcement of the differentials. In 
1882 President Forrest II. Parker appointed E. A. Orr, 
Franklin Edson, E. R. Livermore, Leonard Hazeltine, Chas. 
R. Hickox, Franklin Woodruff, David Bingham, John Sin- 
clair, John G. Dale, Anderson Fowler, Asa Stevens and 
Isaac H. Reed a special committee "to appear before the 
Advisory Commission and urge the necessity and equity of 
a uniform rate of freight between the West and Phila- 
delphia, Baltimore and New York." Under a resolution 
adopted by the grain trade October 1, 1884, the Exchange 
appointed as a special committee, Messrs. Henry T. Knee- 
land, O. H. Armour, E. R. Livermore, Herbert Barber and 
T. A. Mclntyre. The resolution reads as follows : 

Whereas, Various efforts have been made by the New York 
Produce Exchange to induce the Trunk Lines to rescind their action 
taken in July, 18S2, whereby a charge of one cent per bushel is im- 
posed upon all grain loaded at railroad elevators into ocean-bound 
vessels; and 

Whereas, This tax prevents any grain except through shipments 
from being delivered direct to vessels, and has stopped sales of "free 
on board" cargoes loaded at railroad elevators; and 

Whereas, It is a tax that seems under the circumstances to de- 
stroy the usefulness of the elevators in the proper handling of grain 
in this market and has turned millions of bushels of grain to the 
water routes ; therefore, 


Resolved, That the President is hereby requested to appoint a 
committee of five to confer with the agents of the Trunk Lines and 
endeavor to remove the disabilities which the trade now suffers. 

The report of the committee October 23, 1884, begins : 

"The committee . . . beg to present the following as touching 
the question at issue: That in January, 1882, by request of W. H. 
Vanderbilt, President of the New York Central & Hudson River 
Railroad Company; H. J. Jewett, President of the New York, Lake 
Erie & Western Railroad Company; C. B. Roberts, President of the 
Pennsylvania Railroad Company; and John W. Garrett, President 
of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company, an Advisory Commis- 
sion was appointed upon 'the differences in rates that should exist, 
both easterly and westerly, upon all classes of freight between the 
several terminal Atlantic ports.' That during the first six months 
of that year (1882) the said Advisory Commission prosecuted its 
investigations, which when completed was given to the public in a 
report, dated July 20th, 1882, known as the 'Report of Messrs. Thur- 
man, Washburn, and Cooley, constituting an Advisory Commission 
on Differential Rates by Railroads between the West and the Sea- 

The scope of the authority which the appointment con- 
ferred is given on page 5 of the Advisory Commission's 
report, in the following language : 

"Whether it is right or proper to make any such discrimination 
in the charges for transportation of property between the Atlantic 
cities and cities of the interior, and if so, to what extent, is the ques- 
tion that was referred to us and nothing more." 

In considering the "principles that should control" the 
commissioners found three (page 12) : 

1. The distance principle. 

2. The cost principle. 

3. The principle of competition. 

After careful analysis of the three they rejected "dis- 
tance" and "cost" principles and rested their report on 
"competition." In regarding that governing principle, the 
commissioners state (page 37) : 

"They (the railroads) will submit to rates which give the busi- 
ness to other cities only until the trial proves the prejudicial opera- 


On page 41 of the report the commissioners present their 
conclusions in the following terms : "Differential rates have 
come into existence under the operation of competitive 
forces. . . . We, therefore, cannot advise their being 
disturbed.'' The commissioners, however, assume that con- 
ditions may arise when the differentials should be modified 
or abolished, and referring to it make statement as follows: 

"But we do not assume that the rates which are just today will 
be just indefinitely. They have become established by the force of 
circumstances, and they ought to give way if future circumstances 
shall be such as to render it right and proper. They constitute a 
temporary arrangement only; equitable, as we think, for the present, 
but which may become inequitable before the lapse of any consider- 
able time. Whenever they shall be found to operate unfairly, and to 
give a forced or unnatural direction to trade, and whenever it shall 
appear that they tend to deprive any one of the seaports affected by 
them of the proportion of business that would naturally come to it 
under the operation of normal competition, the want of equity in 
rates will appear, and it will be right to modify, or perhaps abolish 

"In their future dealings with the important question which has 
been the occasion for our coming together, the Great Trunk Lines 
should be particularly careful to give no occasion for just complaint, 
that they subject any one of the seaboard cities to the operation of 
arbitrary or unfair regulations or charges, or that they fail to ob- 
serve towards any one of them, or towards the people trading or de- 
siring to trade with them, the mandate of common law — to deal 
justly and distribute fairly the benefits and burdens which are inci- 
dent to their occupation." 

With the report of the Advisory Commission before 
them, the committee beg to call attention to the following 
facts : 

1st. That at the time the report above quoted was made the dif- 
ferential rates were three cents per 100 lbs. to Baltimore and two 
cents per 100 lbs. to Philadelphia less than to New York. 

2nd. That at the time the investigation was prosecuted the 
charge of one cent per bushel for loading ocean-bound vessels at 
New York railroad elevators was not imposed. 

3rd. That the "New Rules" of the New York Grain Trade, 
whereby the basis of trading was changed from "afloat" to store (or 


elevator) deliveries were operative, having gone into effect Octo- 
ber I, iSSr. The committee deem these facts important, as bearing 
upon the report of the Advisory Commission made at the time when 
the differential rates were the same as at present, when the tax of one 
cent was not imposed, and when the same rules which now govern 
the grain trade of New York were in force. Having these facts in 
view, and calling to mind the demand made by the New York 
Produce Exchange, the Chamber of Commerce and other important 
commercial bodies, before the Advisory Commission, for "uniform 
rates to the seaboard," the committee hold that the Advisory Com- 
mission went to the extreme limit of their discretion when they re- 
ported, as has been shown, that the existing differential rates should 
not be disturbed, or to quote the exact language, "We cannot advise 
their being disturbed." (Page 42 of the report.) 

The committee respectfully protest against the action of July 25, 
1882, whereby the tax of one cent per bushel was imposed, as it in- 
creased the differential rates on grain and disturbed the status af- 
firmed by the report. In considering this protest against the tax, 
two points arise, to wit : 

1st. Why was the tax imposed? 

2nd. How does the imposition of the tax disturb the differential 

As to the first point raised, to wit : "Why was the tax im- 
posed?" if the traffic in through shipments of grain from western 
points to Europe occasioned it, the committee are of the opinion that 
the tax is an arbitrary one, since competition regulated the through 
rates, which are of necessity about uniform by all routes and the 
differentials should not apply to such through shipments. If the 
tax was imposed merely to protect the elevator interests at Balti- 
more and Philadelphia it was unfair since its enforcement was 
hurtful rather than helpful to the New York elevator interests. If 
the tax was levied because of a change made in the rules of the 
grain trade of New York in 18S1 it was both arbitrary and unfair 
as it at once stopped sales of free-on-board cargoes to be loaded at 
railroad elevators, a proper and natural traffic which was the out- 
growth of the railroad elevator system which was in operation here 
for years prior to the investigations of the Advisory Commission. 
A large grain trade at Baltimore and Philadelphia has been built up 
from almost nothing, all within a few years by the ceaseless energy 
of the managers of the Trunk Lines terminating at those cities. 

We now come to the second point raised, to wit: "How does the 
imposition of the tax disturb the differential rates?" A charge of 
one cent per bushel is equivalent to \ 2 /z per 100 lbs. on wheat and 


pea?, and I 785-1000 cents per 100 pounds on corn and rye and 
2 08-100 on barley and y/& cents per 100 pounds on oats. On this 
basis if, as the committee hold, the one cent per bushel tax was a 
disturbance of the differential rates affirmed by the Advisory Com- 
mission the effect of the charge was to increase the differentials be- 
tween Baltimore and New York from three cents per 100 pounds on 
all grain to 4^3 per 100 pounds on wheat and peas, 4 785-1000 per 100 
pounds on corn and rye> an d 5 08-100 per 100 pounds on barley and 
6 l A on oats. Having in mind that at the time the Advisory Com- 
missioners prosecuted their inquiry that the rules governing the 
grain trade at New York were precisely as now and that no charge 
was then made at railroad elevators here for loading ocean-bound 
cargoes either upon local or through shipments; and that it is fair to 
suppose that every question at issue was considered by the commis- 
sion, it seems to this committee that an addition of one cent per 
bushel to elevator charges here without a corresponding increase in 
the elevator charges at Baltimore and at Philadelphia, disturb the dif- 
ferential rates, particularly when previous to its imposition from 20 
per cent, to 35 per cent, of all the grain received by railroad was 
loaded direct into ocean-bound vessels. The New York Produce 
Exchange believes that the railway companies have not traversed the 
special pleadings of the roads insisting upon the tax in the light of 
a simple correct understanding of the report on differentials rates, 
and that upon a careful review, the companies must adopt the con- 
clusions of this committee and remove the tax imposed ... in 
simple reliance upon their course, which is just, and upon a proper 
construction of the decision of the Advisory Commission as to the 
differential rates, they respectfully ask that the tax be removed." 

The committee's report constitutes a pamphlet of twelve 
pages and only such portions of it are here recorded as bear 
directly upon the issue involved. It is needless to state that 
the efforts of the committee were unavailing and that the 
protest made no impression upon the managers of the trunk 
lines. An essential part in the Advisory Commission's re- 
port also seems to have been unworthy of consideration, to 

"Whenever they (the differential rates) shall be found to operate 
unfairly ... it will be right to modify, or perhaps to abolish 
them." "In their future dealings with the important question which 
has been the occasion for our coming together, the great Trunk 
Lines should be particularly careful to give no occasion for just 


complaint, that they subject any one of the seaboard cities to the 
operation of arbitrary or unfair regulations or charges." 

The Joint Traffic Association was organized January i, 
1898, and consisted of all the trunk lines of railroads and 
their connections which extend eastward from the Missis- 
sippi River to the Atlantic seaboard. Under the new rail- 
road management the differentials were strictly enforced 
resulting in a marked falling off in the receipts of grain, 
flour and provisions by rail at New York and a correspond- 
ing increase of these articles at rival Atlantic ports. For 
the purpose of bringing to the attention of the Joint Traffic 
Association this state of New York's commerce the Com- 
mittee on Grain February 28, 1896, requested the Board of 
Managers to appoint ten members to act with the Committee 
on Grain as a special committee to wait upon the Joint 
Traffic Association and seek for the abolishment of the hos- 
tile differentials. In accordance with this request, President 
Henry D. McCord made appointments as follows: Henry 
B. Hebert, chairman; John Valiant, S. S. Marples, Chas. P. 
Sumner, O. M. Mitchel, John P. Truesdell. H. B. Day, 
Chas. E. Wilmot, Franklin Quinby, E. Pfarrins, James F. 
Parker. The committee was authorized "to confer with the 
board of managers of the Joint Traffic Association in ref- 
erence to the rapid decline in receipts of grain, flour and 
provisions by rail and to secure such action on the part of 
the Joint Traffic Association as will correct the present dis- 
crimination in rail freights against this port." At a meeting 
of this special committee an executive committee was ap- 
pointed as follows: Hebert, Truesdell, Valiant, Marples, 
Sumner, Mitchel. The committee had a conference with the 
Board of Managers of the Joint Traffic Association March 
26, 1896, and the following report to the Board of Managers 
of the New York Produce Exchange refers to what trans- 
pired at that conference: 

New York, March 31, 1896. 
To the Board of Managers of the New York Produce Exchange: 
Gentlemen — Your Special Committee, appointed March 5, 1896, to 
secure such action on the part of the Joint Traffic Association as will 


prevent the present discrimination in rail freights against this port, 
beg respectfully to report that a joint meeting with the Board of 
Managers of the Joint Traffic Association was held on the 26th inst., 
at which time the attached protest against the continuance of the 
railroad differentials affecting the commerce of New York was pre- 

The committee was very courteously received and heard by the 
railroad managers and a general discussion followed the reading of 
the protest, and a request was made of the committee for further 
information bearing on ocean rates of freight, which will be fur- 
nished as soon as collected and compiled. 

The railroad managers refuse to place credence in the reliability 
of their own freight-rate records of the past, claiming that a prac- 
tical test of the effect of the differentials dates only from the or- 
ganization of the present Joint Traffic Association, January i, 1896, 
and they are more inclined to await the result of their efforts to 
enforce the existing arrangements than to consider at this time the 
imperative need of this port of immediate relief from these differ- 

The following statement, showing the percentage of New York's 
receipts of wheat, corn and flour, during the period of the present 
association has been in operation, is an illustration of what we may 
expect of the continuance of the new program of the railroad mana- 
gers, viz. : 

The managers of the Joint Traffic Association claim that the dif- 
ferentials have been strictly maintained during the past three months, 
and it is during this period that the receipts at this port have been 
less than for thirteen years past. 

The committee are of the opinion that the agitation now com- 
menced should be energetically continued until all discriminations 
against New York have been removed, for it is asserted that the 
railroad agreement for maintaining grain freights for the coming 
season never was stronger, and this means a serious matter for the 
merchants of New York. 

The Board of Managers of the Joint Traffic Association did not 
dispute the fact of the alarming decrease in New York's trade, as 
shown by the exhibits presented at the joint meeting, but they do 
not admit that the cause is the differential freight rate against New 
York allowed to the railroads terminating in competing outports. 
In fact, the New York roads, irrespective of the rights and mercan- 
tile interests involved at this port, have agreed to allow on produce 
arriving. within the. limits of our own State a differential of one cent 
per bushel in favor of Philadelphia on all grain at Buffalo. After a 


thorough investigation of the subject your committee believe this 
discrimination against the commerce of this port to be as unjust in 
principle as it has proven destructive in its operation, and we would 
request that this special committee be continued and empowered to 
engage counsel, if necessary, and to appeal to the legislature in case 
no immediate relief can be obtained through the Joint Traffic Asso- 
ciation. Respectfully, 

Henry B. Hebert, Chas. E. Wilmot, 

John P. Truesdell, Grenville Perrin, 

John Valiant, Harry B. Day, 

J. F. Parker, Monroe Crane, 

Fred V. Dare, Chas. P. Sumner, 

Franklin Quinby, S. S. Marples, 

E. Pfarrtus, O. M. Mitchel. 

The conferences and correspondence with the board of 
managers of the Joint Traffic Association having failed in 
accomplishing desired results, it became evident that other 
methods must be taken; thereupon the Special Committee 
May ii, 1896, addressed a letter to the Hon. Geo. Blanchard, 
Railroad Commissioner, acting in behalf of the Joint Traffic 
Association : 

"In reply to yours of the 2nd inst. the committee state that after 
careful perusal of the contents of said letter they fail to find in it 
any assurance or intent on the part of the Joint Traffic Association 
to remove the differentials. The committee has submitted to your 
Board of Managers carefully prepared statements substantiated by 
statistical and other facts demonstrating that the differentials have 
since their establishment diverted to ports favored by this railroad 
discrimination the commerce of this city. In the absence of any 
definite assurance from your association for relief we so urgently 
need, we feel constrained to carry our appeal to the Interstate Com- 
merce Commission or such other tribunal as may seem advisable in 
our further pursuit of this subject. 

Yours truly, 

Henry B. Hebert, 
Chairman Special Committee." 

For the purpose of engaging counsel and citing the Joint 
Traffic Association before the Interstate Commerce Com- 
mission as violators of the Interstate Commerce Law, the 


Special Committee petitioned the Board of Managers for an 
appropriation of $5,000, for expenses. At a meeting of the 
board held April 30, 1896, "It was unanimously resolved, 
that the request of the Special Committee on Railroad Dif- 
ferentials for an appropriation be granted and that an ap- 
propriation of $5000 or such part thereof that may be neces- 
sary be set aside for the use of said committee who are em- 
powered to take such action as may be required to protect 
the Exchange." The Special Committee retained Mr. Abel 
C. Blackmar, as counsel, who with the assistance of Hon. 
John D. Kernan, prepared the complaint citing the railroads 
before the Interstate Commerce Commission. The follow- 
ing is a copy of the complaint: 


"That the said defendants have been guilty of violations of the 
provisions of Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the said Act to Regulate Com- 
merce, approved February 4, 18S7, in that they have long established 
and maintained and do establish and maintain rates, charges, dif- 
ferentials, rules and regulations for the transportation of grain, 
flour, provisions and other produce from interior points to the city 
and port of New York and to the other competitive 'localities' and 
certain terminal charges at said seaboard localities, which rates, 
charges, differentials, rules and regulations for transportation of 
said merchandise to the city and port of New York, are unjust and 
unreasonable in themselves and relatively so as compared with the 
rates, charges, differentials, rules and regulations governing the 
transportation of like merchandise to the said other competing 'lo- 
calities.' That the said rates, charges, differentials, rules and regula- 
tions constitute an undue and unreasonable preference and advant- 
age to the 'localities' of Philadelphia, Baltimore, Newport News, 
Norfolk and Boston, and to the shipper and dealers and consignees 
doing business therein, and subject the locality of New York and the 
shippers, dealers and consignees doing business therein to undue and 
unreasonable prejudice and disadvantage, and that said differentials 
do thereby unjustly discriminate against the said port of New 
York," etc. 

As evidence of the demoralization of the export and 
ocean shipping, reference is made to the following letters 
addressed to the committee : 


Henry B. Heblrt, Esq., 

Chairman Committee on Grain, New York Produce Exchange. 

Dear Sir: With reference to your today's meeting, we beg to 
call your serious attention to the rapidly increasing loss by New 
York City of the export grain trade to Europe. Already years ago 
she was deprived practically of the full cargo business, which was 
diverted to other cities; and judging from the circumstances that 
are now taking place it is evident that New York is also losing the 
berth business, which is the sole remaining dependence in the grain 
export of this city. To our personal knowledge half a dozen steam- 
ers engaged in the regular New York trade to European ports with 
which we are accustomed to deal have lately, after their discharge 
of passengers and cargo here, been diverted to other Atlantic ports 
to load there grain and general cargo. At this moment there is still 
another regular line steamer, which it was never contemplated to 
load elsev/here, but which is now forced to leave this port at end of 
the week in ballast to receive a full cargo at Newport News for 
Rotterdam and Hamburg, for the sole reason that her agents were 
unable to obtain a cargo of grain here that can be had there in 

We sincerely trust that your committee will devise some adequate 
means to restore to the merchants of this port and the members of 
the New York Produce Exchange their just share of the trade to 
European ports, which they have solely lost through the excessive 
and unjustly discriminating railroad freight rates and terminal 
charges in favor of Southern Atlantic ports and of Gulf ports, 
which now amount to say, 2> l A cents per bushel. We beg to submit 
the following extract of a letter, dated January 25, 1896, and re- 
ceived from a valuable correspondent, viz. : 

"You are right in supposing that for several months the Gulf 
ports have been quite underselling your market in maize, and it may 
perhaps interest you if we tell you that up to this date we have 
bought from other ports than New York 350,000 quarters maize. 
These purchases have all been made for shipment December to April 
and four or five big cargoes, bringing in all about 90,000 quarters 
have already arrived, and we have found the maize to be of most 
splendid quality. On the same day on which New York quoted, we 
bought from Gulf ports y l /2 cents cheaper and you will see thus at 
once that your market is quite unable to compete." 

Yours truly, Hagemeyer & Brunn. 

Henry B. Hebert, Esq., 

Chairman Grain Committee, Produce Exchange, N. Y. 
Sir: We beg to add our testimony to the very serious condition 
of affairs menacing the commerce of this city through the rivalry of 


other ports, and to express the hope that your committee will take 
energetic steps towards remedying it so far as it rests upon undue 
discrimination in favor of the outports. It is notorious how the 
export trade of the port of New York, chiefly in food products, has 
declined relatively to that of its rival ports, and if this decline in our 
export trade is suffered to continue a similar decline in our import 
trade is sure to follow. The increasing amount of tonnage return- 
ing to the outports for outward cargo and offering very low freight 
rates to attract inward business is a powerful help to the import 
business of our rivals. 

The condition of affairs unfavorably affecting New York is 
brought forcibly home to us as agents of the North German Lloyd, 
Bremen, which also employs a number of its vessels in the trade be- 
tween Baltimore and Bremen. It is our interest to draw as much as 
possible of the Bremen export trade to this port instead of Balti- 
more, and we have constantly urged our company to assist us by 
placing large freight carriers at our disposal, and they have re- 
sponded to our requests, but the results, especially of late, have not 
been encouraging. At the same time that we were obliged to dis- 
patch steamers only half full in spite of our offers of the lowest 
possible rates, Baltimore has dispatched steamers to Bremen with 
full cargo at paying rates and has called for more tonnage, which at 
times we have been obliged to supply by sending them a steamer 
from here in ballast or partly loaded. As instances we might men- 
tion that our steamer Stuttgart was to have sailed from here for 
Bremen the 14th inst., but owing to our inability to procure cargo 
for her here, we were obliged to dispatch her in ballast to Baltimore, 
where she received a full cargo. For the same reason we sent the 
H. H. Meier, this week, with part cargo to Baltimore to fill up there. 

These are facts which we see, and which affect the interests of 
the city of New York just as directly as they do <aur own indi- 

We trust you will find and enforce a remedy and are, sir, 
Yours respectfully, 

Oelrichs & Company. 

The initial hearing- before the Interstate Commerce Com- 
mission was on the 15th December, 1897, m tne Board of 
Managers' room, New York Produce Exchange. The plain- 
tiff was represented by Hon. John D. Kernan and Mr. Abel 
C. Blackmar, of Baldwin & Blackmar, and the defendants 
as follows: 


Hugh L. Bond, Jr., for Baltimore & Ohio System and 

James A. Logan, Geo. V. Massey, John G. Johnson and 
Evarts, Choat and H. T. Wickham, ior C. & O. Ry. Co. 
> R. W. De Forest, for Central R. R. of N. J. 

Samuel Hoar, for Boston & Albany R. R. Co 

S. E. Williamson, for N. Y., C. & St. L. Ry. Co. 

Frank Loomis, for N. Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co. 

Ashbel Green, for West Shore R. R. Co. 

Francis I. Gowen and F. H. Janvier, for Lehigh Valley 
R. R. Co. 

George C. Greene, for L. S. & M. S. Rv. Co. 

John B. Kerr, for N. Y., O. & W. R. R. Co. 

Henry Russell and Ashley Pond, for Michigan Central 
R. R. Co. 

J. D. Campbell, for Philadelphia & Reading R. R. Co. and 

C. M. Cumming, for Erie System. 

E. W. Strong, for B. O. S. W. Ry. Co. 

T. J. O'Brien, for Grand Rapids & Indiana R. R. Co. 

Silas W. Pettit, for Trades League, Board of Trade and 
Commercial Exchange of Philadelphia. 

Sherman Hoar, for Boston Chamber of Commerce. 

William A. Fisher, for Baltimore Chamber of Commerce. 

The hearing at New York was largely devoted to the 
presentation of the complaint, which was lucidly and intel- 
ligently stated. Subsequent hearings were held at Philadel- 
phia and Washington. The New York Produce Exchange 
presented testimony that incontrovertibly showed the great 
loss of commerce through the operations of the differentials. 
This evidently was the view of the Commission in reviewing 
the evidence. In its decision, rendered April 30, 1898, it 
alludes to this loss by stating: "It seems to be true that 
N T ew York is in a measure losing its export grain business." 
The Commission's Report, a pamphlet of 73 pages, contains 
the following: 

"Now the primary purpose of these differentials is, not to do jus- 
tice to a particular port, nor to recognize the advantages of a par- 


ticular port, but to enable the various competing lines to obtain a 
fair proportion of this traffic. In other words, the reason for those 
differentials is competition between railways." 

"Upon no other theory could Boston, which is 234 miles farther 
from Chicago than New York, be given the same rate with New 
York, while Norfolk, which is 72 miles farther from Chicago than 
New York, has a rate of three cents per 100 pounds less." 

"New. York has no vested right in the having of so much grain 
shipped to that port." 

"While there is much in the case to induce a different conclusion, 
and while we have arrived at this conclusion with a good deal of 
hesitation, we do not think that, upon the present record, the car- 
riers have exceeded the limit within which they are free to determine 
for themselves. The principle upon which these differentials have 
been established is legitimate." 

"We do not think, therefore, that they should be disturbed by us." 

Section 3 of the Interstate Commerce Law states that 
"it shall be unlawful for any common carrier subject to the 
provisions of this act to make or give any undue or unrea- 
sonable preference or advantage to any particular person, 
company, or firm, corporation or locality, or any particular 
description of traffic in any respect whatsoever, or to subject 
any person, company, firm, corporation or locality, or any 
particular description of traffic, to any undue or unreason- 
able prejudice or disadvantage in any respect whatsoever." 
In passing upon the violation of this section the Commission 
state : 

"Do these competitive conditions justify the preference 
of one locality to another? It is clear under the recent de- 
cisions of the U. S. Supreme Court, not that they neces- 
sarily do, but that they may. It was held in the Import Rate 
Case [Interstate Commerce Commission vs. Texas & P. 
K. Co., 162 U. S., 197; 40 Led., 940; 5 Inters. Com. Rep., 
405], that competition might justify a railway line between 
New Orleans and San Francisco in carrying merchandise 
as a part of a through shipment from Liverpool to San 
Francisco at a rate which yielded to the company for its 
division less than one-third of what it received for carrying 
the same kind of merchandise from New Orleans to San 
Francisco." In the Troy case [Interstate Commerce Com- 


mission vs. Alabama Midland B. Co., 168 U. S., 144; 42 
Led., 414], it was determined that railway competition did 
justify the defendant in making a lower rate to a more, 
distant point. Railway competition may, therefore, excuse 
the giving of a preference to a particular locality or a par- 
ticular commodity, provided the interests of the public are 
not unduly sacrificed to those of the carrier." "In the light 
of these cases it is difficult to see why it is not perfectly 
legitimate for carriers to make differentials like those in 
question" (p. 660). 

This adverse ruling to New York's complaint added 
impetus to the movement for canal improvement and doubt- 
less led to the appointment by Governor Roosevelt of the 
New York State Canal Committee. The Interstate Com- 
merce Commission in part of its report alludes to the State 
canals as follows: "The canal has been a most important 
element in her (New York) commercial supremacy; if that 
element drops out she must expect to lose that portion of 
her supremacy which was due to it" (p. 679). The great 
supremacy of New York in part has been measurably due to 
its canal. If it would hold that supremacy in the future it 
must give attention to the same waterway." "If the canal 
were to be restored today to the same position in this carry- 
ing trade that it occupied in the twenty years past the com- 
merce of the port of New York could not suffer" (p. 680). 

In the summer and fall of 1899 the Committee on Canals 
of the New York Produce Exchange held a succession of 
meetings discussing the competitive and economic features 
of the canal proposition. The result of these deliberations 
of the committee was the adoption of the following reso- 
lution : 

"Resolved, That in the opinion of this committee the true policy 
of the State of New York should be the construction of a waterway 
connecting Lake Erie with the Hudson River of a greater capacity 
than can be afforded by the plan of which improvement has begun ; 
that the principal benefits which will be conferred upon the State 
will be far in excess of any possible cost of said enlarged waterway. 
That we favor the construction and maintenance of a canal of a 
depth of not less than fourteen feet of water with corresponding 


width, and if necessary a new alignment of canal should be made by 
canalizing the Mohawk, Seneca and Clyde rivers." 

This resolution was sent to the Board of Managers for 
approval and at a meeting held September 21st it was ap- 
proved in its entirety. 

While the Committee on Canals was discussing the canal 
question the president of the Exchange received the follow- 
ing letter from Mr. John A. Frailie, secretary of the New 
York State Canal Committee : 

New York, Sept. 13, 1899. 
Frank Brainard, Esq., President Produce Exchange. 

Dear Sir: General Greene has requested ine to ask you if it will 
be possible for this committee to receive an expression of views from 
the Produce Exchange during the month of October, on the subject 
of Canal Improvement ; or whether it will be preferable to hold a 
meeting of the Produce Exchange on this subject at which the Com- 
mittee on Canals could be present and hear the views expressed. 

Will you kindly let me know your decision on this matter as early 
as convenient. The Committee is very desirous of securing an ex- 
pression of opinion from your body ; and the importance of the sub- 
ject is of course fully realized by yourself. 
Yours very truly, 

John A. Fairlie, 
Secretary, Committee on Canals of New York State. 

President Barrows sent this reply : 

"Your favor of September 13th, addressed to Frank Brainard, 
Esq., President Produce Exchange, has been handed to me for reply. 
We shall be pleased to have our Committee on Canals, composed of 
Messrs. Henry B. Hebert, chairman; Frank Brainard, Franklin 
Quinby, Thomas A. Mclntyre, Franklin Edson, Gustav H. Schwab, 
George Milmine, John P. Truesdell, Alfred Rorner and E. L. Boas, 
meet your committee in our assembly room at your pleasure, any 
time in October, and in addition it will give me great pleasure to 
tender your committee the use of our rooms for any public hearing 
that you might call, other than those of members of the Exchange. 
Our Canal Committee is composed of the leading men of our Ex- 
change and are thoroughly familiar with the whole canal question, 
L e., as to the needs of trade and commerce of the port of New 
York. Elliot T. Barrows/' 


During October, 1899, Chairman Greene and the entire 
State Committee attended several meetings of the Canal 
Committee of the Exchange. At the first meeting Chairman 
Greene stated that it had been the desire of the State Canal 
Committee to confer with business men and to ascertain 
their views of canal improvement. Having heard that the 
members of the New York Produce Exchange were con- 
sidering the matter, he thought it a favorable opportunity 
to obtain the desired information. Chairman Hebert, reply- 
ing, said that the deliberations of the Committee on Canals 
of the New York Produce Exchange had resulted in the 
adoption of a resolution which had been approved by the 
Board of Managers, recommending the construction of a 
barge canal of not less than fourteen feet depth of water 
with corresponding width. The statement of the factors 
that led to this conclusion brought to view the competitive 
and economic features of the project and caused a general 
and interesting discussion in which Chairman Greene and 
other members of the State Canal Committee participated. 
From the nature of the report to Governor Roosevelt it is 
only fair to assume that the conferences between the State 
Committee and the Canal Committee of the Exchange were 
largely instrumental in forming the State Committee's 
recommendation for the construction of a one thousand ton 
barge canal. After the publication of the report of the 
State Committee, Chairman Hebert received the following 
letter : 

"Hamburg-American Ljne, 
37 Broadway, New York, Jan. 26, 1900. 
Dear Mr. Hebert: 

I congratulate you upon your success as Chairman of the Produce 
Exchange Committee as it is no doubt due to your efforts that the 
State Canal Committee shaped its report as now published. 
Yours very truly, 

Emil L. Boas." 

The New York Produce Exchange has always been a 
loyal supporter and defender of the canals of the State, 
and foremost in every effort to increase their usefulness as 
factors in transportation. In 1893 through its Committee 


on Canals of which Mr. Geo. W. Balch was chairman, the 
Exchange advocated the deepening of the canals to nine 
feet of water; in furtherance of this project the Board of 
Managers February 5, 1894, issued a printed letter to the 
members of the Legislature urging the passage of a bill for 
this improvement. The letter set forth the advantages to 
be derived from the proposed deepening of the canals, 
stating : 

"... when all that is suggested herein shall have been accom- 
plished the canal will only mark to a degree the progress that has 
been made in the past quarter of a century the world over in in- 
creased transportation facilities. Within that period nearly the en- 
tire lake marine has been newly constructed on improved lines ; 
ocean vessels have shared in similar betterments; and on the more 
important railway lines of the country every possible contrivance to 
conserve economy and increase carrying capacity has been made 
available. . . . The Erie canal alone has failed to share in any of 
the multitudinous betterments and improvements that a golden age 
of invention has wrought in the field of general progress. . . . We 
undertake to claim that with the Erie canal improved in accordance 
with the proposition covered by our proposed enactment, that the 
carriage through to tide water can and will be . . . rendered at so 
low a rate that . . . the railroads will not assume or undertake to 
compete ... at any time during the season of navigation. . . . 
The ratable proportion of such cost of transportation will be as low 
on the Erie canal as on the lakes." 

In the appendix to the letter the Board of Managers 
call attention to the cost of construction and carrying capa- 
city of the lake and ocean vessels then current in comparison 
with the same features of a canal boat that would ply the 
improved canal. The statement is as follows: 

"The cost of a lake steamer of 2700 net tons, capacity 90,000 
bushels wheat, built of wood, with most approved outfit, would be 
$125,000. The average cost of a freight steamer of 4000 tons dead- 
weight capacity, or 133,000 bushels, built of steel and fitted with 
modern appli2nces, British construction, would be, under favorable 
conditions, not less than $165,000. With the Erie canal improved 
on the lines suggested, the capacity of this fleet of boats would be 
so increased as to require but seven consorts and three steamers, 
thus reducing the cost of a fleet of 90,000 bushels' capacity to three 


steamers at $22,500 and seven consorts at $3000 each — $21,000. In 
other words the ratable prop.Qrt.iog of the canal equipment would 
stand for equal tonnage, at only 35 per cent, to that of the lake 
equipment. It is thought that, with the canal improved as sug- 
gested, the fleet of boats could make 8^ round trips from Buffalo 
to the seaboard, 307,000 bushels; . . . the cost of the service would 
be reduced to 1 47-100 cents per bushel." 

"With the canal improved as now being urged the Erie canal 
could pass 3000 boats without incurring any considerable delay; the 
outcome of carrying capacity becomes stupendous. It is fair to as- 
sume that the eastbound tonnage capacity of the Erie canal alone 
would be 5,500,000 net tons and of grain upwards of 200,000,000 

The subsequent enactment of the Canal Improvement 
Lav/, its ratification by the people at the polls and the 
exhaustion of the $9,000,000 appropriation, leaving the 
canal only partially deepened, are matters that have passed 
into history and need no further reference in this article. 
As we now view this improvement it seems fortunate that 
no further effort was made to complete it. Doubtless the 
improvement would have accomplished all its advocates 
expected of it had the vessel tonnage on lake and ocean and 
the tonnage upon rail always remained the same as in 1894. 
The phenomenal increase of vessel and rail tonnage that has 
since taken place emphasizes the need, if the commerce of 
the State is to be conserved, of the construction of a barge 
instead of a boat canal. 

For the purpose of obtaining a broader field of influence 
in the. agitation for canal improvement in accordance with 
the views held by the New York Produce Exchange, a plan 
of cooperation was suggested by the Committee on Canals, 
resulting in President E. T, Barrows issuing the following 
form of invitation : 

"New York, November 9th, 1899. 
For the purpose of discussing the subject of canal improvement, 
and securing, if possible, harmony of action on the part of various 
organizations of Greater New York, the Board of Managers of the 
New York Produce Exchange invites your association to appoint a 
committee to attend a meeting of the representatives of other com- 
mercial organizations of New York and the Committee on Canals 


of this Exchange to be held in the managers' room, New York 
Produce Exchange Building, on Tuesday, November 21, 1899, at 
3 o'clock p. m. Invitations have also been sent to the Board of 
Trade and Transportation, the Merchants' Association, the Mari- 
time Exchange, the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Board of Trade, 
the Manufacturers' Association of Kings and Queens Counties, the 
Mercantile Exchange, the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, the 
Boatmen's Association and steamship companies." 

The meeting was largely attended and subsequently the 
Cotton Exchange and other commercial bodies became iden- 
tified with the Canal Association of Greater New York in 
its Campaign of Education. 

The acceptance by Governor Roosevelt of the State Canal 
Committee's recommendation for improving the canals upon 
the lines of the one thousand ton barge plan and his advocacy 
of it, settled the question as to the character of this 
improvement. Yet there was a great deal to be done by the 
barge canal advocates before the desired result would ma- 
terialize; it was evident that a vigorous campaign must first 
be undertaken. With this in view the representatives of 
the commercial organizations meeting with the Committee 
on Canals, by resolution created the Canal Association of 
Greater New York, electing Henry B. Hebert, chairman, 
Emil L. Boas, treasurer, and Frank S. Gardner, secretary. 
It is not the purpose of this paper to enter into details of the 
important work performed by this Association in its cam- 
paign for a one thousand ton barge canal ; however, we may 
refer to a memorable private dinner, that had something to 
do with the educational features of the campaign. 

There was a strong sentiment "up the State" favoring 
the completion of the improvement already partially done 
upon the canals. This proposition was strenuously opposed 
by the Canal Association of Greater New York. As it was 
the general belief that Governor Odell championed this 
project it was therefore desirable that the Governor should 
become acquainted with the views held by the commercial 
organizations of New York in regard to the matter. In the 
furtherance of the plan Mr. G. K. Clarke, Jr., a member of 
the Committee on Canals of the New York Produce Ex- 



change, offered to entertain the Governor at his city resi- 
dence, No. 38 West Fifty-third Street, and in a social way 
discuss the canal question from New York's standpoint. 
Invitations were issued "to meet Governor Odell at dinner 
Tuesday evening, December 6th, at half past seven o'clock." 
Covers were laid for eighteen. Around a circular table in 
the ample dining-room, sat at the right of the genial host, 
Governor Odell, and at his left, Lieutenant Governor 
Woodruff. Other seats at the table were occupied as fol- 
lows: Andrew Carnegie, Gustav H. Schwab, I. N. Selig- 
man, A. B. Hepburn, Lyman E. Cooley, Charles F. Clark, 
Henry B. Hebert, Samuel D. Coykendall, Chas. A. Schieren, 
D. LePoy Dresser, W. E. Dodge, Gen. Francis V. Greene, 
Lewis Nixon, Anderson Fowler, Frank Brainard. 

As a result of the after-dinner discussion, Mr. Nixon 
suggested the construction of locks upon the one thousand 
ton barge plan with a view that if it was found that the 
commerce of the State required the enlarged canal, the 
locks would be already built for it. This proposition was 
favorably received by Governor Odell; he said he would 
look into it. A gentleman of large legislative experience at 
Albany referring to the Governor's action relative to this 
project wrote Chairman Hebert as follows : "Governor 
Odell in his message to the legislature recommended that 
the number of locks on the Erie be reduced from seventy- 
two to forty- four; that these locks be enlarged to the one 
thousand ton capacity and that the deepening of the prism 
to nine feet be completed." Legislation embodying these 
features and appropriating twenty-eight million dollars 
therefor was introduced by Senator Davis. It applied to 
the Erie Canal alone, but subsequently the Governor ac- 
cepted an amendment to include the Champlain Canal. 
When the bill was being considered in the Assembly it was 
further amended so as to include the Oswego Canal, raising 
the amount for the improvement another five million dollars. 
The Governor was opposed to the Oswego amendment and 
this opposition was doubtless the cause of its defeat. 

The defeat of this canal bill cleared the legislative atmos- 
phere and renewed efforts were made for canal improvement 


upon the one thousand ton barge plan. The Governor ulti- 
mately became convinced of the correctness of this proposi- 
tion and not only declared in favor of it in his letter October 
8, 1902, in accepting- the gubernatorial candidacy ; but also 
in the summer of 1903, in his speeches delivered at various 
county fairs, he advocated the one thousand ton barge im- 
provement, and advised the farmer to vote for it. After the 
ratification by the people of the referendum, the Canal 
Association of Greater New York congratulated the Gov- 
ernor upon his efforts in the canal campaign. In reply he 
wrote to Chairman Hebert : 

Executive Chambers, Albany, November 5, 1903. 
My dear Mr, Hebert: I have your favor of the 4th inst. and 
thank you very much for it. I need not say that I am glad I was 
able to be of service in presenting to the people the proposition for 
canal enlargement 

With kind regards, I am, 

Very truly yours, 

B. B. Odell, Jr. 

The barge canal proposition was not undertaken solely in 
the interests of business centered at Buffalo and New York 
nor with the idea that by the means of the enlarged water- 
way the increasing volume of lake commerce could be 
shunted through it from Buffalo to the Hudson river with- 
out consideration for the welfare of other sections of the 

It was contemplated that the benefits arising from im- 
proved traffic conditions would be felt generally throughout 
the commonwealth, and would serve to check a decline in 
population and wealth that had unmistakably taken place in 
many counties. The extent of this depopulation is shown 
in the U. S. Census for 1900; the names of the counties 
affected are as follows : 

Allegany, population in 1900 41,501 loss 

Chenango, " " 36,568 " 

Columbia, " " 43,211 

Cortland, * " 27.576 

Essex, " 30,707 " 

• 1,739 

. 1,208 

. 2,961 

. 1,081 

■ 2,345 


Greene, population in 1900 31,478 loss .... 120 

Lewis, " 27,427 " 2,379 

Livingston, 37,059 " 742 

Madison, 40,545 " 2,347 

Orleans, " " 30,164 " 639 

Oswego, " " 70,881 " .... 1,002 

Otsego, 48,939 " 1,922 

Putnam, " " 13,787 " .... 1,062 

Rensselaer, 121,697 " •••• 2,814 

Schoharie, 26,854 " 2,310 

Schuyler, " 15,811 " 900 

Seneca, " " 28,114 " 113 

Tioga, 27,951 " 1,984 

Washington, " " 45,624 " 66 

Wayne, " 48,660 " 1,069 

Wyoming, " 30,413 " /So 

Yates, " " 20,318 " .... 683 

Total depopulation in 22 counties 30,266 

The significance of this depopulation may possibly be 
better understood when it is stated that it covers more than 
the population of the counties of Schuyler and Putnam 
combined and aggregates more than the combined population 
of the cities of Hudson, Corning and Olean. Accompany- 
ing this depopulation was evidence of a decrease in the value 
of property for taxable purposes amounting to millions of 
dollars; this feature in the decline of communities was of 
the gravest importance, for it was a condition that affected 
the entire State. The endeavor to improve the traffic situa- 
tion so as to reestablish prosperity to these localities, im- 
parted to the canal improvement proposition something of a 
patriotic sentiment. The increase of the State's population 
for the decade, 1890-1900, was 1,271,041, of which 929,788 
was within the four counties incorporated in the limits of the 
city of Greater New York, leaving 341,253 for the remain- 
ing fifty-seven counties. Had the accretion to the popula- 
tion at the metropolis been no larger than the average in- 
crease of those counties it is apparent that the population of 
the Empire State would have been in 1900 less than that of 
Pennsylvania. Commenting upon this matter Mr. Andrew 


Carnegie under date of February 8, 1902, wrote Chairman 
Hebert: "The citizens of New York should take note that 
the State of Pennsylvania has gained more rapidly in popu- 
lation. . . . Indeed, if it were not for the abnormal 
increase of New York and Brooklyn, the State of New York 
would have ranked second in population ere this." 

Tt was estimated that the low rate of freight which the 
barge canal would inaugurate would cause the commerce 
which the railroads had diverted from New York to return 
to its natural channel and in the adjustment of interior rail 
rates to correspond with those of the canal, the New York 
farmer in raising like products would be able to compete 
with the more distant farmer in the far West. It was also 
believed that the low rate of transportation by the "all- 
water route" of lake and canal would attract an important 
percentage of movement of iron ore from the Lake Superior 
region to points within the State of New York and would 
incite a development of the iron and steel industries. This 
would increase the population and wealth in cities and towns 
along the line of the canal, and would give to the agricul- 
tural sections of the interior enlarged markets and better 
prices for farm products. 

It seems reasonable that the State should have a larger 
share in these prosperous industries. Conditions in New 
York are more favorable than in some states that are profit- 
ing by an increasing percentage of this traffic. The produc- 
tion of iron ore at Lake Superior mines since 1890 has been 
very large and has added to the employment and material 
wealth of the citizens of states having the advantages of 
lake navigation. The citizens of the Empire State have not 
participated in the development of this trade, possibly be- 
cause of the transportation situation within its domain as 
there seems to be no other reason presentable. 

The United States census for 1900 exhibits the marvel- 
ous increase in the production of iron ore in Michigan and 
in Minnesota, and the subsequent growth of the iron and 
steel industries in Pennsylvania and in neighboring states. 
This official record is substantially as follows : In 1890 the 
output of ore from these two states aggregated 8,033,566 



long tons: in 1900 the output was 19,761,106, and in 1902 
it was 26,272,865 long tons. 

Pennsylvania shows the greatest growth in the manu- 
factures of iron and steel, during the last decade (1890- 
1900) and New York the smallest. Appended is a com- 
parative statement of the increase of capital invested and 
the value of products. J 

Value of Increased 

Capital invested Increase over Products Value over 

1900 1890 1900 1890 

Penn. $546,858,260 $147,438,097 $767,033,374 $314,747,560 

Ohio 85,528,552 49,35S,i65 138,935,256 73,728,428 

111. 43,275,739 9,271,820 60,303,144 21,292,093 

Ind. 14,994,210 6,845,115 19,338,481 14,595,721 

N. J. 19,971,609 8,424,307 24,381,609 13,363,124 

Mass. 13,738,593 4,848,038 13,491,159 2,290,010 

Decrease Decrease 

New York 12,183,866 3,798,569 13,858,553 i,9S9,984 | 

For the purpose of extending agitation for canal im- 
provement to "up-State" counties and placing this part of 
the campaign under separate management, the Canal Im- 
provement Association of Western New York and the Canal 
Association of Greater New York in cooperation formed the 
Executive Canal Improvement State Committee: Gustav 
H. Schwab, New York, chairman; Henry B. Hebert, New 
York, treasurer; Frank Brainard, New York, Tohn W. 
Fisher, Buffalo, Robert R. Hefford, Buffalo, Frederick O. 
Clarke, Oswego, Frank S. Witherbee, Port Henry. This 
committee appointed George H. Raymond, Buffalo, and 
John A. Stewart, New York, secretaries. The main office 
was in the New York Produce Exchange building^ 

The campaign was carried on with a great deal of vigor 
for a period of about four months extending into the fall of 
1903. During the month of October, 1903, and until election 
day, Buffalo and Greater New York were the storm centers 
in the struggle "for and against" the referendum. The 
opposition was aggressive and unscrupulous in statement 
both in the public press and in other literature. Handbills 
requesting the citizens of New York to vote "NO" were 


distributed at the elevated railroad stations and other points 
where people were in masses. A specimen of these bills, 
printed in type to attract the attention of the citizen is here 
presented (not in facsimile): 


on Barge Canal Scheme. 






This means higher taxes direct and indirect. The latter touch Every- 
body. Higher rents, higher licenses, heavier expenses, 
with no return. 


If there is any intelligent man who thinks it will benefit the State 
or any section therein or any citizen thereof, save only the 
beneficiaries of the most stupendous graft ever sug- 
gested, let him vote for the Barge Canal, 
If he is not a grafter and if he has 
any regard for his own 
interest let him 


Extravagant estimates were made by the opponents of 
the canal as to the cost of the improvement, discrediting' the 
amout of $101,000,000 named in the law and declaring that 
the improvement would cost more than $350,000,000. Every 
effort was made to influence the voter to xote "No" in voting 
on the referendum. 

As an auxiliary to the Canal Association of Greater New 
York the Committee on Canals in September organized a 


Canal Improvement League of fifty members of the Produce 
Exchange and, under the energetic leadership of its chair- 
man, Mr. Albert Kinkel, most effective work was done. The 
League by popular subscription raised enough funds to 
carry forward its part of the campaign and a vast amount 
of literatuie was printed and distributed. It also put in cir- 
culation a great number of campaign buttons and badges on 
which was inscribed 


Under its auspices was held, upon the floor of the Ex- 
change, a mass meeting at which Hon. Seth Low, the Mayor 
of the city, presided. Among those who addressed the 
meeting were former mayors of Brooklyn, Hon. Charles A. 
Schieren and David A. Boody. Other speakers were Hon. 
Chas. F. Bostwick, Professor Stevenson, Chairman Albert 
Kinkel, and Henry B. Hebert. Hon. George B. McClellan 
was invited to address the meeting, but owing to a previous 
engagement he was unable to attend and sent the following 
letter explaining his absence : 

Albert Kinkel, Esq., 

Chairman, Produce Exchange. 
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your invi- 
tation to be present at the Produce Exchange meeting of the Canal 
League, and to say that before its tender to me I had made an en- 
gagement which will preclude my attendance. I cannot, however, 
permit the occasion to pass without publicly attesting my sympathy 
with the project. The expense of the improvement is inconsiderable 
when compared with the obvious advantages which will accrue to the 
city from it. In comparison with the wealth and importance of the 
State at the time the Erie Canal was projected, its cost was, one 
might almost say, infinitely greater than the expense of the proposed 
improvement. The State never made a more profitable investment 
than that, and it would be shortsightedness now to even question the 
cost of the undertaking. In our day we must imitate the providence 
of our predecessors and contribute our share, to the increase of the 
greatness of our city. In this respect I regard your enterprise as 
deserving of support of every citizen. 

Yours very truly, 

George B. McClellan. 


In the morning papers, Monday, November 2, 1903, the 
following announcement was published : 

The undersigned wish to impress upon the citizens of Greater 
New York the paramount importance of an overwhelming majority 
from this city at the polls, in favor of the 1000-ton barge canal im- 
provement. This is the most important question before the people 
of the entire State today. At tomorrow's election no one should 
neglect to cast his ballot and if he has the interests of the city and 
State at heart, that ballot should be marked with an "X" opposite 
the word "YES." 

Seth Low, George B. McClellan, 

R. Fulton Cutting, Bird S. Coler, 

Chas. A. Schieren, Oscar S. Straus, 

Gustav H. Schwab, David A. Boody, 

John D. Crimmins, Fred W. Wurster, 

William F. King, John H. Washburn, 

Robert Campbell, Henry Hentz, 

Thos. J. McGuire, Herman Robinson, 

Frank S. Witherbee, William McCarroll, 

Lewis Nixon, Henry B. Hebert. 

The large vote in favor of the referendum cast in the 
various boroughs of Greater New York is evidence of the 
effective campaign work done under the management of the 
Canal Association of Greater New York and of the Canal 
Improvement League of the New York Produce Exchange ; 
but for this vote the referendum would have been ignomini- 
ously defeated. The day after the election Chairman 
Hebert received a number of telegrams and letters tendering 
congratulations and according to New York credit for the 
success of the barge canal project. The following are 
among those received : 

Buffalo, N. Y., Nov. 4,. 1903. 
The Buffalo Chamber of Commerce extends congratulations and 
hearty appreciation for the generous support given the canal propo- 
sition. Leonard Dodge, 


Buffalo, N. Y., Nov. 4, 1903. 
Congratulations. New York alone saved the day. Machine 
voting here made us trouble. G. H. Raymond. 


Medina, Nov. 5, 1903. 
I wish to congratulate you upon the great work done in N. Y. 
City. You see we were right in warning yon of the heavy vote up 
the State. By reason of the baneful influence of the Rochester 
papers we had a desperate battle with our rural voters in this county. 
Our village which contained only about 6000 people gave a majority 
of 1028. ... By reason of the heavy vote here the county was car- 
ried and the adverse rural vote wiped out. Again we congratulate 
you on the result in Greater New York and in the State at large. 
Very respectfully, 

John J. Ryan. 

Buffalo, Nov. 5, 1903. 
Please accept my congratulations upon the results and especially 
for the magnificent New York majority. Your name will always 
remain connected with this great movement as one of its principal 
supporters. Yours very truly, 

George Clinton. 

New York, Nov. 5, 1903. 
The adoption by the people of the referendum on the Barge Canal 
proposition gives me the opportunity to say to you that the city and 
State of New York owe you a large debt of gratitude which I hope 
some day will be publicly and fittingly acknowledged. 
Yours verv truly, 

R. S. White, 
President the New York Lumber Trade Association^ 

In the final throes of the campaign, expenses were much 
larger than contemplated. Before the closing days the 
funds of the Canal Association of Greater New York were 
nearly exhausted and there was little time in which to can- 
vass for public subscriptions. An appeal was made to the 
Canal Committee of the Exchange and the situation was 
made known to the Board of Managers. The Board was 
asked for a subscription of $5,000. This financial aid was 
sufficient to carry the campaign to a successful end. 

The liberal and staunch support given by the Board of 
Managers, financial and otherwise, to the Committee on 
Canals of the Exchange during the period for canal im- 
provement, made it possible for the barge canal project to 



be fostered and brought to a successful issue; but for this 
assistance in all probability the canals would have been com- 
pleted upon the plan of 1894. It is, therefore, not too much 
to say that to the New York Produce Exchange largely 
belongs the credit for the improvement of the canals as now 
projected. Its Committee on Canals 1 was uncompromisingly 
committed to the barge canal plan, having the belief that a 
canal of smaller size would be useless as a competitor of the 
railroads. The Greene State Canal Committee's recom- 
mendation for a one thousand ton barge canal was endorsed 
because the capacity of such a canal approximated the plans 
of the committee. It also had the support of Governor 
Roosevelt which was an important factor in a prospective 
campaign. The wisdom of the committee's support of the 

1. The Committee on Canals of the N 
1904, was as follows: 

1897 — 1904 Henry B. Hebert, Chairman; 

1899 — 1904 Frank Brainard 

1897 — 1904 Franklin Quinby 

1&97 — 1904 Thos. A. Mclntyre 

1898 — 1904 Franklin Edson 

1899 — 1904 Gustav H. Schwab 

1897 — 1904 George Milrnine 

1897 — 1904 John P. Truesdell 

1898 — 1904 Alfred Romer 

1897 — 1898 James M. Martin 

ew York Produce Exchange, 1897 to 

1897 — 1898 
1S99 — 1904 
1902 — 1904 
1903 — 1904 
1903 — 1904 
1902 — 1903 
1902 — 1903 
1900 — 1904 
1902 — 1904 
1902 — 1904 

E. M. Clarkson 
Emil L. Boas 
G. K. Clark, Jr. 
E. C. Bodman 
John J. D. Trenor 
John V. Jewell 
Josiah M. Favill 
D. M. Van Vliet 
Frank E. Hagemeyer 
Wrn. H. Douglas 

The officers of the Exchange, 1897-1904, were: 

1896 — 1897 Henry D 

1897— 1899 
1899 — I9°i 
1901 — 1902 
1902 — 1904 

1895 — 1809 
1895 — 1899 
1895 — 1809 
1896 — 1898 
1896 — 1899 
1897— 1899 
1898 — 1902 
1903 — 1904 
1898 — 1904 
1898 — 1900 
1899 — 1901 
1899 — 190: 
1903— 1904 
1899 — 1901 
1902 — 1904 

Frank Brainard 
Elliot T. Barrows 
John V. Barnes 
Edward G. Burgess 


F. II. Andrews 
V. B. McMahon 
James Doyle 
Perry P. Williams 
Emilio Pritchard 
Frank W. Cominsky 
Chas. W. Hogan 
John Valiant 
Tohn Valiant 
D. D. Allerton 
Samuel Taylor, Jr. 
F. V. Dare 
Vincent Loeser 
Vincent L^ser 
Wm. Hamilton 
James F. Parker 


Frank Brainard 
F. H. Andrews 

Edward G. Burgess 
R. E. Annin 


Edward C. Rice 

1902 — 1904 
1903 — 1 904 

1903 — 1904 
1903 — 1904 

1899 — 1901 
1899— 1901 
1900 — 1904 
1900 — 
1900 — 1904 
1900 — 1902 
1901 — 1903 
1901 — 1904 
1901 — 1903 
1901 — 1903 
1901 — 1903 
1901 — 1903 

A. C Fetterolf 
Nathaniel Doyle 
Charles W. Bowring 
George H. Williams 
Andrew J. Toomey 
R. E. Annin 
H. Myers Bogert 
Oswald Sanderson 
Frank I. McGuire 
P. A. S. Franklin 
Yale Kneeland 
Samuel L. Finlay 
Herbert Barber 
Benjamin Parr 
Wm. H. Douglas 
Chas. B. Little 


one thousand ton barge project was amply demonstrated by 
subsequent events. 

It is not too presumptuous to say that the New York 
Produce Exchange desires to express its appreciation for the 
substantial services rendered by the commercial organiza- 
tions of the metropolis and other parts of the State in coop- 
eration and support of this great movement, nor for the 
writer to here record his great regard for the members of 
the Committee on Canals who were associated with him 
during the years involved in the study and agitation for 
canal improvement. 

» . j :-v< ■■■■■ 


t -_." : 

\^ 4 


:.--,.-.- <u. «_>"■!■ .... I.,.'. 

Jli-i* ~jS-itt--«.*3fe:->a»-' 





Major General U. S. Volunteers, Chairman Committee on Canals of 
New York State, i8gg. 

When Theodore Roosevelt was inaugurated as Governor 
of New York in January, 1899, the most important and the 
most difficult question which he had to solve was that of 
the State canals. His party had narrowly escaped defeat — 
and but for his own personal popularity probably would 
have been defeated — at the election in the previous autumn 
on account of their mismanagement of the $9,000,000 im- 
provement authorized by the legislation of 1894. Governor 
Roosevelt was extremely anxious to retrieve these mistakes 
of his party, and equally anxious to find a proper solution 
of the canal question the importance of which to the State 
of New York was universally acknowledged. After con- 
sidering various projects, he finally decided to appoint a 
committee of private citizens, to serve without pay, to study 
the question in all its bearings and make a report to him as 
a basis for his recommendations to the Legislature. He 
appointed this committee by letter, dated March 8, 1S99. I 
was selected as chairman, and the .other members were 
Major Thomas W. Symons of the Corps of Engineers, 
United States Army, then stationed at Buffalo in charge of 
river and harbor improvements, Hon. Frank S. Witherbee 
of Port Henry in the Champlain district, Hon. George E. 


Green, Slate Senator from Binghamton in the southern tier 
of counties, Hen. John N. Scatcherd of Buffalo, and the two 
State officials most intimately connected with the adminis- 
tration of canals, viz., Hon. Edward A. Bond, State Engi- 
neer, and Hon. John N. Partridge, Superintendent of Public 

The request of the Governor was simply that we should 
study the canal problem and advise him. His own words 
were as follows : "The broad question of the proper policy 
which the State should pursue in canal matters remains un- 
solved, and I ask you to help me reach the proper solution." 

We devoted the greater part of the year, 1899, to a study 
of the subject and made our report to the Governor under 
date of January 15, 1900. It is a printed document of 231 
pages with 7 maps, 36 charts and 69 tables of statistical in- 
formation. The Governor promptly transmitted the report 
to the Legislature, adopting the conclusions and recommen- 
dations which it contained, and advising that legislation be 
enacted to carry them into effect. This was done in succes- 
sive years, and meanwhile, additional surveys and estimates 
of cost were prepared under the direction of the State En- 
gineer. The State printed an edition of several thousand 
copies of our report, and scattered it broadcast throughout 
the State for examination and discussion ; and finally the 
project was ratified and adopted by an overwhelming vote 
of the people in the election of 1903. 

It will be noticed that the question on which the Governor ' | 

asked our advice was the policy of the State in canal mat- 
ters; in other words, should the canals be abandoned, or 
maintained in their present condition, or enlarged, and if so, 
to what extent and at what estimated cost? In order to 
reach an intelligent conclusion upon these fundamental 
questions, and in order to convince others of the soundness 
of any such conclusion, we set to work to obtain statistical 
information concerning the rates of transportation by rail 
and on the ocean, the lakes and the canals, not only of New 
York, but of other states and of other countries. The in- 
formation thus gathered was unusually full and complete, 


and had never before been presented in similar compact 
form.. It formed the basis of the argument in the debates 
which followed in the legislature and before the people on 
the adoption of the project. 

As to our conclusions and recommendations, the first 
question to be decided was whether or not the canals should 
be entirely abandoned. It was claimed by many that canal 
transportation was antiquated and altogether out of date; 
that "the railroads, with their large capital and scientific 
management, their durable roadbeds, powerful locomotives, 
larger cars, greater train loads, greater speed, and more 
certainty of delivery, will be able now or in the early future 
to reduce the cost of transportation below what is possible 
on the canals." If it should seem probable that the railroads 
could accomplish this, then it would be manifestly unwise 
and improper to expend any more public money upon the 
canals. A careful study of the actual facts in regard to 
transportation rates led us to form the following opinion : 
"In our judgment, water transportation is inherently cheaper 
than rail transportation. It varies slightly with the size of 
the vessel and the restriction of the waterway. On the 
ocean, where the waterway is entirely unrestricted and the 
size of the vessel is the maximum, it averages about half a 
mill per ton mile; on the lakes, where the vessels are not 
so large, and occasional restrictions are encountered on the 
waterway, it is about six-tenths of a mill per ton mile; on 
the canals of New York, where the boats are very small, 
the waterway greatly restricted, and obsolete methods are 
employed for handling the business, it is about two mills 
per ton mile. By the enlargement of the canal which we 
recommend, and the introduction of improved methods of 
management, we believe that the carnal rate can be reduced 
to two-thirds of one mill per ton mile, or very nearly as low 
as the lake rates. All of these rates have varied in the past 
and will vary in the future to correspond with prosperity or 
depression in general business. But there is every reason 
to believe that they will maintain a corresponding ratio, the 
ocean, lake and canal rates being from one-third to one- 


fourth of those by rail. The reductions which may be made 
hereafter in the railroad rate can be met by similar reduc- 
tions in all three classes of the water rates, provided the 
same methods of skilled management are applied to all." 

The phenomenal growth of the enormous tonnage on the 
lakes and the prosperity which it has brought to the states 
bordering on the lakes convinced us that a proper waterway 
across the State of New York would bring similar pros- 
perity to this State ; and we called attention to the fact that 
"New York has certain topographical advantages which it 
would be folly not to utilize. Through the valleys of the 
Hudson and the Mohawk and the comparatively low and 
level lands west of Oneida lake, it is possible to construct a 
water route connecting the Great Lakes and the Atlantic 
coast, and no such water route can be constructed through 
any other State." 

We were also guided in reaching these conclusions by 
the action of the principal countries on the continent of Eu- 
rope in regard to water transportation. Air. Witherbee 
visited Europe in the summer of 1899, 2Jl ^ L traveled through 
France, Belgium and Germany, collecting a large amount of 
valuable reports relating to the economic and engineering 
features of the canals in those countries. From the infor- 
mation obtained by him, and from other sources, we were 
enabled to show the enormous development of inland navi- 
gation by means of canals and rivers, which had taken place 
during the previous twenty years in France, Belgium, Ger- 
many and Russia. In all of these countries the traffic on 
internal waters had increased far more rapidly than the 
transportation by rail. 

From a consideration of all these facts we reached our 
first conclusion — which, like all the other portions of our 
report, was unanimously adopted — to wit, "That the canals 
connecting the Hudson river with Lakes Erie, Ontario and 
Champlain should not be abandoned, but should be main- 
tained and enlarged." 

The next point to be considered was, to what extent 
should they be enlarged, what size of vessel they should be 


adapted to carry, and what would be the estimated cost of 

As to the proper size of the enlarged canal, widely dif- 
ferent views were held by engineers and by economists. 
Some contended that the nine foot canal authorized in 1894 
was sufficiently large; others brought forward the sup- 
posed advantages of a ship canal large enough to carry 
ocean-going steamers without breaking bulk from Duluth 
to Liverpool, or any other port; others contended that a 
canal of intermediate size would be found to be the most 
economical, would cost the least amount of money for the 
results produced, and would, in fact, produce a lower freight 
rate than either the small canal on the one hand, or the ship 
canal on the other. 

To these questions we gave the most careful study. The 
ship canal had many glittering attractions, and there was a 
large sentiment along the lakes which had found expres- 
sion in Deep Waterways conventions, which had been held 
in recent years and had advocated a w r ater route of either 
21 or 28 feet depth from Lake Erie to the Atlantic ocean. 
Congress had appropriated considerable sums for the pur- 
pose of making surveys and estimates of cost. It was 
argued that there was such a strong sentiment from so large 
a section of the country in favor of this project that the 
United States would adopt it and thus save the State of 
New York from any further expense in the matter. But a 
careful examination of the facts led us to the conclusion 
that while a ship canal of 21 or 28 feet depth would cost 
enormously more than a barge canal of, say, 12 feet depth, 
it would not produce as low a freight rate, and we based our 
conclusion on the following reasons. The cost of a barge 
adequate for transportation on the canals was less than $8 
pei* ton of carrying capacity ; the cost of a vessel to navi- 
gate the lakes was about $36 per ton; and the. cost of a 
vessel to navigate the ocean was about $71 per ton. It w r as 
manifest that a barge suitable for transportation on the 
canals was not suitable for lake navigation; and that a 
vessel could be built with ample strength for navigating the 


lakes which would certainly be destroyed in the first gale it 
encountered on the Atlantic. The lake and canal vessels 
could, therefore, not be used on the ocean. Moreover, the 
ocean vessel, being so much more expensive than the lake or 
canal vessel, and being designed for comparatively high 
speed, could not economically be used on the canal where 
the speed is limited to five or six miles an hour. The only 
advantage of a vessel sailing from any part of the lakes 
to any part of the ocean was the saving of the rehandling 
of the cargo at Buffalo and New York, but we found that 
this was less than the loss involved in using an ocean steamer 
for canal and lake transportation. We summarized the 
argument in these words: 

"We have, then, the difference in first cost between $71, $36 and 
$8 per ton of carrying capacity for the three types of vessels which, 
in the evolution of business, have been produced as the most eco- 
nomical for the particular class of work each has to do. We do not 
believe that it is possible to combine these three types into one ves- 
sel, which will be as economical for the through trip as to use the 
three existing types with two changes of cargo, one at Buffalo and 
one at New York, or to use the boat of 1,000 tons capacity going 
through from the lakes to New York and there transferring its 
cargo to the ocean steamer." 

And this led us to our second conclusion, which, as pre- 
viously stated, like all others, was unanimous : "That the 
project of a ship canal to enable vessels to pass from the 
Upper Lakes to New York City (or beyond) without break- 
ing bulk is a proper subject for consideration by the Federal 
Government, but not by the State of New York." 

Having rejected the ship canal project, we had then to 
consider what size of enlarged canal we should 1 recommend. 
In any event, we were satisfied that the route of the canal 
should be changed so as to use the waterways of the Seneca 
and Oneida rivers, Oneida lake and the Mohawk river in 
place of the present route ; but the question was whether the 
depth of the canal should be 9 feet, capable of carrying 
a boat with cargo capacity of 450 tons, or a depth of 12 feet, 
carrying a boat with a cargo capacity of about 1,000 tons. 


With such data as we could obtain in the short time at our 
disposal, and without adequate surveys, we estimated the 
cost of the smaller project at a little more than $21,000,000, 
and of the larger project at a little less than $59,000,000. 
Our conclusion was in these words : 

"In our judgment, arrived at after long consideration, and with 
some reluctance, the State should undertake the larger project on 
the ground that the smaller one is at best a temporary makeshift, 
and that the larger project will permanently secure the commercial 
supremacy of New York, and that this can be assured by no other 

Major Symons made an exhaustive analysis of the meth- 
ods of canal transportation as actually used, and a compari- 
son of the ton mile costs of transportation with boats of 
various sizes, and showed conclusively that not only would 
the 1,000 ton barge project produce the lowest freight rate, 
but also that, taking the comparative estimates of cost, this 
project would produce the greatest economic value of the 
canal. His memorandum on this subject, which was pub- 
lished in the report, was accompanied by diagrams showing 
the successive growth of the size of the boat used on the 
canals from 1825 to 1S62, since which date no improvement 
had been made on the canal of any consequence. It also 
showed by comparison the dimensions of the proposed; barge, 
and indicated the manner in which it would be used in 
actual practice. While some members of the committee 
were at first disposed to recommend the completion, with 
certain modifications, of the nine foot project of 1894, yet 
after a long study and discussion the committee became 
unanimously convinced that the 1,000 ton barge canal 
project was the only proper and adequate solution of the 

We made a fourth recommendation in the following 
words : 

"That the money for these improvements should be raised by the 
issue of eighteen-year bonds in the manner prescribed by the State 
Constitution, and that the interest and principal of these bonds 
should be paid out of taxes specifically levied, for benefits received, 
in the counties bordering in whole or in part on the canals, the Hud- 


son river and Lake Champlain; such taxes to be levied in propor- 
tion to the assessed valuation of the real and person- 1 estate in such 
counties. These taxes will amount to about 10 cents per $100 of 
assessed valuation annually during the period of eighteen years." 

Our object in making this recommendation was to dis- 
arm the opposition of the non-canal counties which opposed 
the expenditure of State money for a project from which 
they claimed they could derive no benefit. In answer to 
this, it might be said that the whole State was benefited by 
the canal improvement, and that every county should bear 
its share of the expense. We also submitted statistics in 
tabular and graphic form showing that the valuation of the 
river and canal counties was 90% of the entire valuation of 
the State. In any event, they would bear 90% of the ex- 
pense, and it was thought wise to suggest that they bear 
the entire expense so as to remove every ground of alleged 
injustice in taxing the counties which claimed to derive no 

This recommendation was not adopted by the Legisla- 
ture, nor submitted to the people. It was, in fact, some- 
what cumbersome, and as we showed conclusively that the 
non-canal counties would only have to pay 10% of the cost 
of improvement, it was evidently thought not worth while 
to introduce a new method of taxation for State improve- 

At the election the non-canal counties voted against the 
project by large majorities, St. Lawrence county, for in- 
stance, being 12 to I against it, and Steuben county, 10 to I 
against it ; but, on the other hand, the canal counties voted 
in favor of it by almost equally larg-e majorities, New York 
being 9 to 1 in favor of it; Kings. 8 to 1 ; Queens, 5 to 1, 
and Erie, nearly 5 to 1. For some unexplained reason Mon- 
roe county, in which Rochester is situated, and Onondaga 
county, in which Syracuse is situated, voted against it. The 
overwhelming vote, however, in the counties at the two 
terminals, New York and Buffalo, made a majority of 245,- 
312 in the entire State in favor of the project, and a total 
vote of 1,100,708. 


In regard to the term for which the bonds were to run, 
this was changed from eighteen to fifty years by an amend- 
ment to the Constitution, adopted at the same election of 

Our fifth and final recommendation was as follows : 

"That the efficiency of the canals depends upon their management 
quite as much as upon their physical size, and that no money should 
be spent for further enlargement unless accompanied by measures 
which will accomplish the following results : 

(a) The removal of all restrictions as to the amount of capital 
of companies engaged in transportation on the canals, and the en- 
couragement of large transportation lines for handling canal busi- 
ness, in place of hampering them, as has hitherto been the case. 

(b) The use of mechanical means of traction, either steam or 
electricity, in place of draft animals; and the use of mechanical 
power in place of hand power for operating the gates and valves, 
and moving boats in locks. 

(c) The organization of the force engaged on the public works 
of the State on a more permanent basis, so as to afford an attractive 
career to graduates of scientific institutions, with the assurance that 
their entry into the service, their tenure of office, and their promo- 
tion will depend solely on their fitness, as determined by proper and 
practical tests. 

(d) A revision of the laws in regard to the letting of public 
contracts by the State, so as to make impossible a repetition of the 
unfortunate results of the $9,000,000 appropriation." 

Legislation has already been adopted to carry into effect 
(a) and (c) ; the adopted plans for the canal are in ac- 
cordance with (b) ; and the specific form of contract which 
we recommended in connection with (d) was not adopted, 
but another form of contract was adopted which will prac- 
tically accomplish the same result. 

It only remains to speak of tiie cost of the project. With 
such data as we had available and with such surveys as 
were possible during the year, 1899, we estimated the cost 
of the project we recommended at $58,894,668 for the 
Erie canal and $2,642,120 for the Oswego and Champlain 
canals, making a total of $61,536,788. This contemplated 
a canal with 12 feet depth and suitable locks for carrying a 


barge of approximately 1,000 tons capacity from Buffalo to 
the Hudson river, but as to the Oswego and Champlain 
canals, it recommended only the completion of the work 
already undertaken to provide for boats of six feet draft. 
While we believed these estimates to be adequate, yet we 
earnestly recommended an appropriation of $200,000 for 
the purpose of making detailed surveys and further esti- 
mates. This appropriation was immediately made by the 
Legislature and the work entrusted to the State Engineer, 
Mr. Bond, who had been a member of the committee, who 
promptly and skillfully made, at a cost less than the appro- 
priation, an exhaustive series of surveys on which final esti- 
mates of cost were made. It was ultimately determined to 
enlarge the Champlain and Oswego canals to the same size 
as the main canal between Buffalo and the Hudson river, 
and also to include the dredging of a 12 foot channel in the 
Hudson river, which we had anticipated would be done by 
the Federal Government. This enlargement of the project 
very materially increased the cost, and in the interval be- 
tween the time of our report and the completion of the de- 
tailed report of the State Engineer, the prices of labor and 
materials had very largely advanced. In order to cover all 
possible contingencies, the State Engineer carried his esti- 
mate to $101,000,000, and this was the amount appropriated 
by the Legislature and ratified by the people at the election 
of 1903. 

In our report we figured on bonds running for eighteen 
years, and showed that the annual amount of interest and 
sinking fund to extinguish the bonds in that period would 
amount to a little more than 10 cents per $100 of the then 
assessed valuation ; that the aggregate State, county and 
municipal taxes at that time averaged about $2 per $100 
valuation; and that the carrying out of the project would 
increase the tax rate from $2 to $2.10, or in other words, 
"to the person or corporation paying taxes on $1,000,000 of 
assessed valuation it would increase his tax bill from $20,000 
to $21,022 per annum; to the man owning a $50,000 house 
in New York City or Buffalo it would increase his taxes 


from $1,000 to $1,051 per annum; and to the farmer with 
a farm valued at $5,000 it would increase his taxes from 
$100 to $105.11." We went on to say that — 

"If the enlargement of the Erie canal will restore to New York 
its former proportion of the grain trade, and in addition will develop 
the iron and steel industry within its own borders; in a word, will 
permanently establish the commercial supremacy of New York, 
which is now not only threatened but partially lost, the foregoing 
sums are a small amount to pay to bring about such results. They 
are small as compared with what New York has done in the past 
for the same purpose." 

We showed that in the past the canal debt at one time 
reached an amount equal to 3.8^0 of the entire valuation of 
the State, whereas what we recommended was less than 
1.4% of the valuation. We showed that the taxation for 
canal purposes in the past had frequently been as high as 
20 cents per $100, whereas what we recommended was 
barely one-half that amount. In point of fact, the financial 
burden will prove to be very much less than we anticipated, 
partly due to the fact that the assessed valuation of the State 
has increased much more rapidly than we anticipated, and 
partly to the fact that the cost is spread over fifty years 
instead of eighteen years. The assessed valuation of the 
State is already much in excess of $8,000,000,000, and the 
taxation for canal purposes has not as yet reached $1,000,- 
000, or 1*4 cents per $100 instead of 10 cents per $100 as 
we estimated. It is believed that the total cost will fall sev- 
eral million dollars below the estimate of $101,000,000, but 
in case that entire amount should be expended, the assessed 
valuation of the State will at that time be close upon 
$10,000,000,000, and the interest and sinking fund to ex- 
tinguish the debt at maturity will be not more than 
$2,250,000 per annum, or 2% cents per $100 of valuation, 
or less than one-fourth of the financial burden we estimated. 

In many respects the barge canal project is comparable 
in extent, in magnitude, and in results with the Panama 
canal project; but in comparison with the immense re- 
sources of the imperial State of New York, in comparison 


with the vast sums which the city of New York is expend- 
ing for public works, in comparison with the equally vast 
sums which the great railroad systems have within the last 
few years expended and contemplate expending in the im- 
mediate future, the expenditures for the barge canal are 
small. If, as it is confidently expected, they produce the 
d-esired results and retain the supremacy of the great trade 
route through the State of New York between the lakes and 
the ocean, then the price to be paid, measured by the results 
obtained, is almost insignificant. 






Colonel Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, retired ; Member of the New York State 
Advisory Board of Consulting Engineers, Albany. 

Before the original Erie canal was built by the State of 
New York efforts were made to induce the General Gov- 
ernment to build it or to aid in building it. The movement 
was unsuccessful and the General Government has never 
aided the State in any of its canal work. It has, however, 
through its officials, made various examinations, surveys 
and reports, some of which have been extensive and of im- 
portance in the final settlement of canal questions. It was 
as a public officer of the United States that I made my first 
official acquaintance with the great canal problems of the 
State of New York. 

When I first arrived in Buffalo in 1895 t0 take charge of 
the river and harbor works of the vicinity, two canal move- 
ments of interest and importance to Buffalo, Erie County 
and New York State were under way. 

One was the work of improving the present Erie canal 
by the State of New York under what is known as the 
$9,000,000 act, which act was passed in 1S95. The improve- 
ment contemplated under this act was the deepening of the 
canal and locks to nine feet and doubling the length of the 


locks so as to allow two boats connected up tandem to pass 
through at otic lockage. It was soon found, however, that 
the cost of the work contemplated had been greatly under- 
estimated and it was stopped after much money had been 
expended, but before anything of importance to navigation 
had been accomplished. 

The other movement was much more widespread, but 
had not reached the era of actual work. It was the agita- 
tion and demand throughout all the region of the Great 
Lakes and a goodly portion of the Atlantic seaboard for a 
ship canal connecting the lakes with the sea. Many letters 
were written to the press, favoring the project. The news- 
papers of the region had many articles and editorials in the 
same line. Numbers of public meetings were held and en- 
thusiastic speeches made for the ship canal project. Orators 
and writers depicted the magnificence of the future when 
great ocean ships should leave Liverpool and other foreign 
ports and proceed directly to Chicago, Duluth and all the 1 

other chief cities of the lakes bringing the commercial pro- 
ductions of the world and exchanging them for the grains, 
lumber, ore, etc., of the Northwest, right in the heart of the 
continent. Some, more conservative, were content with the 
idea of a canal which would permit the ships of the Great 
Lakes to reach the seaboard and there deliver their loads 
to the people of the coast or exchange their foreign-bound 
cargoes with the deeper draft ships engaged in ocean com- 
merce. The glamor of the Ship Canal from the Lakes to 
the Sea, like a brilliant aurora borealis, shone brightly over 
the whole lake region. 

Under the inspiration of the movement the Governments 
of the United States and Canada created an international 
"Deep "Waterways Commission/' "to examine and report 
whether it was feasible to build such canals as shall enable 
vessels to pass to and fro from the Great Lakes to the At- 
lantic ocean." 

After a year's investigation and study this Deep Water- 
ways Commission reported "that it is entirely feasible to 
construct such canals and develop such channels as will be 
adequate to any scale of navigation that may be desired be- 


tween the Great Lakes and the seaboard," and recommended 
that complete surveys be made on which to base projects for 
ship canals from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, and from Lake 
Ontario to the Hudson river via the Oswego and Mohawk 
rivers, and via the St. Lawrence river and Lake Champlain. 

Following the report of this international Deep Water- 
ways Commission the United States Government took up the 
burden of expenses and created a Board of Engineers to 
make surveys for ship canals of various sizes and by vary- 
ing routes from the Great Lakes to the sea. 

The law authorizing these surveys and creating tire board 
for making them was passed June 4, 1897, and is as follows : 

"For surveys and examinations (including estimates of cost) of 
deep waterways and the routes thereof between the Great Lakes and 
the Atlantic tidewaters, as recommended by the report of the Deep 
Waterways Commission, transmitted by the President to Congress 
January 18, 1S97, one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Such ex- 
aminations and surveys shall be made by a board of three engineers 
to be designated by the President, one of whom may be detailed 
from the Engineer Corps of the army, one from the Coast and 
Geodetic Survey, and one shall be appointed from civil life." 

On July 1, 1898, another appropriation of $225,000 was 
made and the item making the appropriation contained the 
following language : "And the said board shall make a re- 
port of the progress of the work to the Secretary of War, 
for transmission by him to Congress at the commencement 
of its next session, and submit in their report the probable 
and relative cost of various depths for said waterway re- 
spectively, as follows, twenty-one and thirty feet, with a 
statement of the relative advantages thereof. " 

On March 3, 1899, a further appropriation of $90,000 
was made for the surveys, etc., and in 1900 there was an 
additional appropriation of $20,000, making the total amount 
expended for the surveys $485,000. 

The report of this Board of Engineers was submitted 
June 30, 1900. It is a large volume of text with a second 
volume of maps, plans, etc., and contains a large amount of 
valuable information. In it estimates are made of the prob- 


able? cost of canals 21 feet deep and canals 30 feet deep, 
with properly proportioned widths and by various routes, 
and the necessary improvements in lake and inter-lake chan- 

The estimated cost of a 21-foot canal from Duluth, Minn., 
to New York, via the upper lakes, the Niagara river, a canal 
about the Falls from La Salle to Lewiston, Lake Ontario, 
St. Lawrence river, Lake Champiain and the Hudson was 
stated at $190,382,436. The same 21 -foot canal via Oswego, 
Oneida lake and the Mohawk river would cost $206,358,103. 
For the 30- foot canal via the same routes the estimated cost 
was stated at $320,099,083 for the Champiain route, and 
$317,284,348 for the Oswego-Oneida lake route. 

These estimates for the 30-foot canals do not include the 
cost of deepening lake harbors to accommodate the deeper 
draft sea-going vessels. This, of course, would be a tax 
on the individual harbors, but its aggregate amount would 
be many millions of dollars. 

A study of the board's detailed estimates and recent ex- 
periences on the New York State barge canal construction, 
the increased cost of labor and materials since the report 
was completed, and the infinite complications which would 
arise to vested interests and properties in doing such a work, 
indicate very clearly to me that these estimates would have 
to be largely increased, probably by from 25 to 50 per cent. 

The report discusses the advantages and benefits to be 
obtained from the different size ship canals, but apparently 
favors the 21-foot canal, saying: "The return of direct 
benefit from the 21 -foot waterway is much greater than the 
return from the 30-foot waterway." 

This elaborate and expensive report on the ship canal 
question on its presentation and publication fell fiat and has 
scarcely been heard from since except to use some of its 
findings and statements for contentious purposes, and its 
maps and data for other canal projects. No official effort 
to bring it up or to cause its suggestions or recommenda- 
tions to be carried into effect was ever made. The apparent 
reason for this practical obliteration of the ship canal from 
official consideration was the fact that while it was in 



progress the question of the relative economy and efficiency 
of ship and barge canals was studied arid analyzed by the 
writer and others and found to be largely in favor of a 
barge canal. 

During the session of Congress of l ! 8^5-*6, a bill was in- 
troduced appropriating $2,000,000 "to widen the locks of 
the Erie canal so as to permit the passage of modern tor- 
pedo boats and other vessels of war of similar dimensions 
for the protection of the lake cities." The writer of this 
paper, then stationed in Buffalo, was called upon to make a 
report on this bill. An examination of the subject was made 
and a report submitted, dated December 1, 1890. The re- 
port contained a description of the Erie canal and the im- 
provements then projected and fairly commenced under the 
$9,000,000 act which had been approved by the people of 
New York in 1895. It showed that all the torpedo boats of 
the navy then - built or under contract with the exception of 
two would pass through the canal as it was then being im- 
proved. Also that we had no other "vessels of war of sim- 
ilar dimensions," except a few gunboats, which had a draft 
of 12 feet and which would not be accommodated in the 
canal by the widening of the locks alone. 

For this reason, in addition to the estimates submitted 
for the widening of the locks alone, additional estimates 
were submitted for deepening them. 

The cost of enlarging the locks on the Erie canal to a 
width of 25 feet, length of 250 feet, and depth of nine feet 
was estimated at $4,287,000. If widened to 31 feet the 
estimated cost was $4,824,000. If widened to 37 feet the 
estimated cost was $5,361,000. 

The report concluded with an argument for the radical 
enlargement of the Eric canal on commercial grounds indi- 
cating the advantages to be gained thereby. The bill as in- 
troduced in Congress did not pass, and the New York State 
work under the $9,000,000 act soon stopped as previously 
stated, and New York's great canal question was "up in the 
air" again. 

In the meantime, while this investigation as to widened 
locks and the $9,000,000 work was going on, an investiga- 


tion far wider in scope and character and of much greater 
consequences to the State and the country was being made 
by the writer of this article. 

The River and Harbor Act of June 3, 1896, contained the 
following provision : 

"The Secretary of War is hereby directed to cause to be made 
accurate examinations and estimates of cost of construction of a 
ship canal by the most practicable route, wholly within the United 
States, from the Great Lakes to the navigable waters of the Hudson 
river, of sufficient capacity to transport the tonnage of the lakes to 
the sea." 

As there was an insufficient amount of money available 
to carry out literally the evident requirement of Congress 
for a survey, it was resolved by the War Department to 
treat this item as an ordinary preliminary examination, and 
to have a report prepared giving- such information as was 
then available, such facts as' could be secured regarding the 
worthiness of the improvement and an estimate of the cost 
of such a survey as must precede the preparation of detailed 
plans and estimates of cost. 

The work was placed in charge of the writer by letter 
from the Chief of Engineers, dated August 13, 1896, and 
the report called for was submitted June 23, 1897. 

In fixing upon the scope of the investigation the language 
of the law had to be interpreted. 

The term "navigable waters of the Hudson river" was 
taken to mean waters of equal navigable capacity to those 
of the canal of which they would form an extension and 
part of the contemplated highway to the sea. 

The most important interpretation was that of the phrase 
"tonnage of the lakes," for this brought up and made per- 
tinent the economical comparison of ship and barge canals. 

The item in the law which requires that the canal shall 
have "sufficient capacity to transport the tonnage of the 
lakes to the sea" was interpreted in two ways. 

First. That the canal and all its structures should be of 
sufficient size to pass the largest vessels of the lakes, and 


to pass enough of these large vessels and smaller ones to 
transport all the freight desiring to pass through. 

Second. It was considered that the law might be inter- 
preted to mean that the canal should have the location and 
size which would at the least cost for construction and main- 
tenance enable the freight passing between the East and the 
West — "the tonnage of the lakes" — to be transported at the 
smallest cost. This latter was regarded as the broader view 
of the subject and its study was deemed necessary in order 
that a correct conclusion, from a business and economical 
standpoint, might be arrived at. 

Under the first, or large ship canal, interpretation, three 
routes were consideied: First, the present Erie canal route, 
including the Hudson river ; second, a route via canal about 
Niagara Falls, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence river, Lake 
Champlain and the Hudson; and, third, another via canal 
about Niagara Falls, Lake Ontario, Oswego river, Oneida 
lake, the Mohawk river and Hudson river. For reasons 
stated in the report the last or Oswego route is the only one 
seriously considered, the others "wholly within the United 
States" being impracticable for a ship canal. 

Under the second, or barge canal, interpretation, but one 
route was seriously considered, that by the present Erie 
canal entirely within the land boundaries of the State of 
New York. Three sizes of canals were considered by this 
route: first, the Erie canal as now existing; second, the 
Erie canal as it was then being improved by the State to 
nine feet depth and with locks doubled in length; and 
third, the canal improved to what was then designated as 
barge canal size.; that is with locks 12 feet deep, 33 feet 
wide, and 420 feet long in the clear, with intermediate gates, 
and a prism 12 feet deep and a minimum bottom width of 
82 feet. 

The gist and greatest value of the report consists in the 
careful investigation that was made into the cost per ton of 
carrying capacity of lake ships and canal barges, and the 
cost of operating the same. These costs, with the items of 
transfer at Buffalo, insurance on vessels and cargoes, in- 
terest on investment and deterioration, all reduced to a 


single unit of freight, enabled a comparison to be made be- 
tween the economy and efficiency of a ship canal and a barge 

It was roughly estimated that the ship canal would cost 
$200,000,000 and the barge canal (Erie alone) $50,000,000. 
The estimated cost per ton of carrying capacity of steel lake 
freighters was determined to be from $35 to $50, while the 
cost per ton of carrying capacity of canal barges, including 
a steamer with each fleet, all suitable for navigating the 
canal, was $10 to $20. 

With everything reduced to the same basis, it was cal- 
culated that the cost of transporting a bushel of wheat in 
lake freighters of 7000 tons capacity through a suitable 
canal from Buffalo to New York was 2.28 cents, while the 
cost of transporting the same bushel in a fleet of barges, 
each carrying 1500 tons, through a suitable barge canal 
from Buffalo to New York, and including the transfer 
charges at Buffalo was 2.07 cents, and if the transfer 
charges were reduced, as they have since been reduced, was 
1.66 cents. 

In making this comparison no consideration was given 
to the cost of the canal or the cost of operating it, the basis 
of comparison being the interest on the cost of carriers, de- 
terioration thereof, insurance of carriers and cargoes, or- 
dinary repairs, fuel, oil, and waste and the wages and sub- 
sistence of the crews of the vessels. If the first cost of the 
canal and the cost of maintenance and operation were taken 
into consideration, the showing in favor of the barge canal 
over the ship canal would have been still more marked. 

The study was convincing that for the highest economy 
in transportation, special types of vessels are needed for 
use on the ocean, on the lakes, and on the canals, and neither 
can replace the other in its proper waters without suffering 
loss of economical efficiency. Ocean vessels could not, as a 
general rule, engage in the business of passing through a 
ship canal and the lakes to the upper lake ports, and lake 
vessels aie not fitted for use upon the ocean, and if they 
made use of a canal they would have to transfer their car- 
goes at the seaboard, ordinarily by means of lighters, float- 


ing elevators, etc., at a higher expense than such transfers 
would cost at the lower lake ports. For economical trans- 
portation through a canal from the Great Lakes to the sea 
special vessels, differing from and far less costly than ocean 
or lake vessels, are required. 

The conclusion was reached by the writer that even if a 
ship canal were built, the greater cheapness of barge canal 
transportation would prevent its use by large ships, and 
cause it to be used almost entirely by fleets of barges which 
could be almost equally as well accommodated in a smaller 
and cheaper canal. 

The report concludes with the statement that the con- 
struction of a ship canal from the Great Lakes to the sea 
is not a project worthy of being undertaken by the General 
Government, as the benefits to be derived therefrom would 
not be properly commensurate with its cost. 

Also that the enlargement of the Erie canal to a capacity 
suitable for 1500-ton barges, with locks long enough to take 
in two barges connected up tandem with everything adapted 
"to transport the tonnage of the Lakes" is a project worthy 
of being undertaken by the General Government, as the 
benefits to be derived therefrom would be properly com- 
mensurate with the cost. 

The report was submitted June 23, 1897, and published 
in the Report of the Chief of Engineers for 1897. No ac- 
tion w r as taken on it by the General Government, but it had 
an important influence in shaping public opinion in New 
York, in killing the ship canal idea, and in furnishing a 
standard about which the canal interests of New York could 
rally. The $9,000,000 fiasco, the dazzling pictures of the 
ship canal advocates, and the dismal pictures of the enemies 
of all canals, had produced a state of bewilderment in re- 
gard to the canal questions. The report advocating a barge 
canal for boats of about 1500 tons capacity cleared things 
up and was a solution of the problem which was received 
with favor and grew in estimation, until it was finally 
adopted by the State and, with modifications, is now being 
carried out. 


The adoption of the barge canal plan was brought about 
largely through the medium of a board or committee ap- 
pointed March 8, 1899, by Governor Roosevelt to consider 
"the broad question of the proper policy which the State of 
New York should pursue in canal matters." 

This committee, of which the writer was a member, con- 
sisted of engineers, business men, men familiar with trans- 
portation matters both by water and rail, and certain State 
officials. It gave about a year of hard work to the problem. 
It made a report dated January 5, 1900, which is teeming 
with statistics and information and which concludes with 
Ihe unanimous recommendation that the Erie canal be im- 
proved by making it 12 feet deep, with locks 328 feet long 
and 28 feet wide, and that the Oswego and Cliamplain 
canals be improved in accordance with the plan of 1895, 
making them nine feet deep and with locks of the size of 
the present Erie canal, but doubled in length. 

This matter was taken up by the Legislature on the rec- 
ommendation of Governor Roosevelt and an appropriation 
of $200,000 was made for surveys and preparation of plans 
and estimates of cost. It was decided by the Legislature to 
include the Oswego and Champlain canals with the Erie for 
improvement to barge canal size. 

The final estimated cost of the entire work was $101,- 
000,000, and this was approved by the Legislature and 
finally by the vote of the people. 

Subsequently by action of the Legislature and- the Canal 
Board, the locks were required to be enlarged to 45 feet in | 

width, making the capacity of the canal as measured by the 
size of the locks almost identical with the capacity recom- 
mended by the writer in his report to the General Govern- 
ment of 1897. 

One of the provisions of the law providing for the con- 
struction of the barge canal as it finally passed the Legisla- 
ture and the people, was a clause requiring the supervision 
of the work by a board of five expert engineers. Because 
of his previous connection with the work, the writer was 
requested by the Hon. B. B. Odell, then Governor of New 
York, to serve on this Advisory Board of Consulting Engi- 


neers. To enable this to be done required a special act of 
Congress, which was secured, and on this board the writer 
has continued his connection with the barge canal work up 
to the present time. 

All that which goes before in this article refers to the 
work of the General Government or officials thereof during 
the present generation. Previous to this it had caused to be 
made various studies, surveys, plans and estimates for canals 
passing wholly or partially through New York State and 
which will be mentioned here as matters of historical in- 


In the year 1808, pursuant to a resolution of the Senate 
of the United States, the Secretary of the Treasury sub- 
mitted to that body a report which included a ship canal 
about Niagara Falls, from Schlo^ser's to Lcwiston via the 
Devil's Hole. As far as is known this was the initial ap- 
pearance of the General Government on the scene. 


In 1835 the President of the United States ordered sur- 
veys to be made "for a ship canal to connect the waters of 
Lake Erie and Lake Ontario," and detailed Capt. W. G. 
Williams of the U. S. Topographical Engineers for the 
work. In 1836 Capt. Williams reported upon five different 
routes, varying in their lengths from 7^4 miles (from 
Schlosser's to Lewiston) to 32 miles (from Tonawanda, via 
Lockport, to Eighteen Mile Creek at Olcott). 

The locks for his canal were to be 200 feet long, 50 feet 
wide and 10 feet deep. The estimated cost of the canals 
as planned by Capt. Williams varied from $2,568,899 to 


Under date of February 14, 1837, the House Committee 
on Roads and Canals made a favorable report urging the 
military and commercial needs for the canal as outlined by 
Capt Williams. 




In 1853 a State Commission made surveys for a canal 
around the Falls of Niagara of the dimensions of the St. 
Mary's canal, then building, for the passage of the largest 
side-wheel steamers then navigating the Western Lakes. 
The locks for the canal estimated for were to be 300 feet 
long, 70 feet wide and 14 feet deep. 

The estimated cost varied from $10,290,471 to $13,169,- 
570, according to the route considered. 


In 1S63 President Lincoln appointed an engineer, Mr. C. 
B. Stuart, to make a report on proposed canal improvements 
designed to pass gunboats from tidewater to the Lakes. The 
canal as reported and estimated for by him had locks 275 
feet long, 45 feet wide, and 12 feet deep, the same in width 
and depth as the barge canal locks now under construction. 
Various routes were surveyed and the estimated cost for 
the shortest one was from $6,007,011 for single locks to 
$7,680,555 for double locks. 


In 1867, in compliance with a joint resolution of the 

40th Congress, Lieut. -Col. C. E. Blunt of the U. S. Corps 

of Engineers made surveys and estimates for a canal 14 feet 

deep and locks 275 feet long and 36 feet wide by various 

routes from the upper Niagara to the lower Niagara and 

points on Lake Ontario. His estimates of cost varied from 

$11,032,000 to $13,993,638. 



In accordance with the provisions of the River and Har- 
bor Act of 1888, Capt. Carl F. Palfrey of the Corps of En- 
gineers made a revision of the plans of 1867 an d for a 
larger canal. He considered only the routes by way of 
Wilson and Olcott to be suited to conditions then existing. 
His estimates were for a canal with locks 400 feet long, 80 
feet wide and 2oy 2 feet depth on mitre sills and his esti- 


mates varied from $23,617,900 for the Olcott line to $29,- 
347,900 for the Wilson line. 


In 1889 Representative Sereno E. Payne introduced a 
bill in Congress providing for a commission to select one of 
these lines and appropriating $1,000,000 for construction 
upon it. No action was had upon this bill. 

i892- , 6. 

Congressional reports were made in 1892 and 1896 on 
the subject of a canal about Niagara Falls but nothing came 

The above historical data refer mainly to a canal about 
Niagara Falls. Other action relative to the general canal 
routes through the State has been taken by the United 


During 1863 the State Engineer of New York made 
studies and estimates for a series of enlarged locks along- 
side the existing locks so as to pass gunboats from tide- 
water to Lakes Erie and Ontario. The enlargement con- 
templated locks 225 feet long, 26 feet wide and 7 feet deep. 
The estimated cost of this enlargement from the Hudson 
river to Lake Ontario was $10,350,088 and from the Hud- 
son river to Lake Erie, was $11,902,888. 


Under date of June 23, 1874, Congress called for a re- 
port and estimate for the enlargement of the locks of the 
New York canals to the dimensions last mentioned, i e., 225 
feet long, 26 feet wide and 7 feet deep, and the deepening 
of the canal prism to eight feet. This report was made by 
Major John M. Wilson of the Corps of Engineers, U. S. 

Major Wilson's estimate of the cost of lock enlargement 
leaving the prism at seven feet depth, from the Hudson to 


Lake Eric, was $6,676,231, or with deepening the prism to 
eight feet included, it was $(-,173,596. 

Major Wilson also submitted an estimate for a canal 
from the Hudson to Lake Ontario at Oswego, with locks 
185 feet long, 29 feet wide and 9 feet deep. The estimated 
cost of this work was $25,213,857. 


As stated in another part of this paper the writer sub- 
mitted in 1896 a report required by Congress on the subject 
of enlarging the locks of the Erie canal for the passage of 
modern torpedo boats and vessels of war of similar dimen- 

Everything subsequent to this in which officials of the 
General Government had a hand is given in the previous 
portion of this article. 





President of the New York State Commerce Conventions of i£q9, i9«o, and 1901 ; 
second vice-president the New York State Waterways Association, etc. 

In that magnificent memorial to the Legislature which 
begot the canal statute of 1816, Governor Clinton wrote 
these words: 

"Granting, however, that the rivals of New York will command 
a considerable portion of the western trade, yet it must be obvious 
from these united considerations, that she will engross more than 
sufficient to render her the greatest commercial city in the world. 
. . . Great manufacturing establishments will spring up; agricul- 
ture will establish its granaries, and commerce its warehouses in 
all directions. Villages, towns and cities will line the banks of the 
canal and the shores of the Hudson from Erie to New York. The 
wilderness and the solitary places will become glad and the desert 
will rejoice and blossom as the rose." 

1. The Hon. John D. Kernan of Utica has long been prominent among the 
more efficient and practical advocates of canal improvement in New York State. 
In preceding pages {12-33) of this volume has been noted his participation in the 
State Commerce conventions of 1895. 1900, and 1901, of each of which he was presi- 
dent. In Senator Henry W. Hill's " Historical Review of Waterways and Canal 
Construction in New York State" (XII. Pubs. Buffalo Historical Society), frequent 
mention is made of Mr. Kernan's services in behalf of the canals, especially in the 
referendum campaign of 1903. The paper here printed is a revision, slightly 
amended and extended, of an address made by Mr. Kernan at Troy, shortly before 
the election of 1903- It is an excellent example of the abler kind of arguments 
made in that campaign by friends of New York canals, and the Buffalo Historical 
Society takes pleasure in including it in the present collection. 

J 35 


This prophecy written in the wilderness that lay west of 
Albany long since came true, and none can fairly deny that 
the Erie canal completed in 1825 and enlarged between 1836 
and 1862, contributed more than anything else to make 
New York the first State in the Union in wealth and popu- 
lation. Its monuments are, the second great port of the 
world at New York, the fifth at Buffalo, at the foot of the 
Great Lakes, upon which a tonnage floats equal to 40 per 
cent, of the railway tonnage of the United States, a continu- 
ous line of prosperous cities, towns and villages where at 
least 70 per cent, of our population live, pay more 
than that proportion of our State taxes, and consume 
the product of our farms; $360,000,000 earned by boat- 
men in freight, fortunes made in handling its com- 
merce; the lowest freight rates in the world forced upon 
the New York Central and other State railroads by canal 
competition; and, according to the latest reports of State 
Comptroller Miller, $3,398,004.81 toll money to the credit of 
the canals on September 30, 1902, over and above the money 
expended upon all State canals since 1817, including the 
expenditures of twenty years of no tolls and the $7,000,000 
largely wasted out of the $9,000,000 voted by the people for 
canal improvement, excluding interest which no one except 
canal opponents ever thinks of charging against any class of 
public expenditures, because public use is the equivalent of 
interest, especially upon highways of all kinds. 

Again, so long as the Erie canal was fit, not only did the 
cities and their industries grow, but farm values increased 
until they averaged the highest in the United States. The 
Great Lakes on the west, the ocean near by at Troy on the 
east, and the lay of the land and water courses between are 
the simple elements that enabled our energetic and far- 
sighted ancestors to establish the commercial supremacy of 
New York. To get a canal or a railroad elsewhere between 
the lakes and the ocean through the Appalachian mountain 
range extending from Alabama to Maine, down to such a 
grade as we have had provided by nature, would bankrupt 
Croesus and all his followers since his day. It would seem 


as though continued and up-to-date use of our natural ad- 
vantages would just as surely sow the seeds of continued 
supremacy in the future. 

Those who favor a barge canal must not be misled by the 
facts of our past history, however, into concluding without 
further investigation that because our canals were once of 
value they will hereafter be of equal or greater value. A 
flail was once a good thing, but there are better ways of 
threshing now ! Barge canal advocates must fairly answer 
those who say that the days of canals is passed, and that of 
railroads and government ship canals has come. If they do 
not the people will vote against further expenditures of 
public money upon canals, especially in view of the danger, 
incident to all such public undertakings, that there will be 
some waste and theft in its spending, although my firm 
belief in popular government and in the people when aroused 
leads me to think that the danger is just now being greatly 
exaggerated for a purpose not patriotic. 

For thirty years past we have virtually abandoned our 
canals, so far as improvement is concerned, with the result 
that in 1898 Governor Black called attention to the fact that 
our commerce was falling away and the State was losing its 
position of commercial supremacy. Instead of having 80 
per cent, of the imports and 65 per cent, of exports, it w T as 
found that all but 62 per cent, of imports and 37 per cent, 
of exports had already gone to our rivals. He appointed a 
commission to find out why. This commission reported a 
very alarming loss in New York commerce, owing to canal 
deterioration and railroad discrimination against the State, 
and argued forcibly that adequate improvement of the Erie 
canal to nine feet in depth, with proper terminal facilities, 
protected by the State from railroad control, would regain 
all that the State had lost, increase canal capacity four fold 
and decrease the cost of moving freight to 88-100 of a mill 
per ton, or 44 cents per ton from Buffalo to New York. 
The legislature did nothing. In 1899 Governor Roosevelt 
appointed a canal committee of the ablest men he could find 
to consider the canal question alone. After investigating all 


of its phases, this committee recommended that the Erie 
canal be enlarged to iooo-ton barge size as the maximum 
carrying capacity at the minimum of cost. This means that 
a vessel has not yet been designed for canal navigation that 
can carry as cheaply in proportion to the amount necessary 
to build and operate it as a boat of 1000 tons capacity. 
Ocean vessels cost to build about $71,000 per 1000 tons of 
carrying capacity and proportionately to operate ; 1000-ton 
barges, $7,300, and proportionately to operate. I went up 
the lakes to Marquette a year ago on a new 7000-ton 
freighter. The captain told me that the boat had cost 
$225,000, and had a crew of twenty-five men to pay and 
feed ; that to pay expenses and a fair profit he had to make 
thirteen miles per hour the season through. The ship canal 
commission report says that it will take that vessel sixty- 
four hours to make the passage of 477 miles from Buffalo 
to New York City. That is less than seven and one-half 
miles per hour, and will make the ship canal useless to the 
captain in his business, if what he told me is true. The 
Suez canal is largely open inland water, and yet the average 
speed of vessels is less than six miles per hour. The traffic 
on the Suez is less than eight million tons per year, or about 
one-quarter of that passing the Sault Ste. Marie's locks and 
largely awaiting a suitable waterway into and through New 
York State. Hence for inland water the 1000-ton barge is 
the cheapest carrying agent that the wit of man has thus 
far devised. For this reason it has been adopted as the 
standard in Germany. Nothing less than a 1000-ton barge 
canal, in the judgment of the committee, is worth while to 
attempt, in order to again make our canals railroad rate 
regulators, or to regain and hold the lost commercial su- 
premacy of the State. Such a canal the committee reports 
will reduce canal transportation cost to 52.100 of a mill per 
ton mile, or to twenty-five cents per ton from Buffalo to 
New York. No railroad economies yet permit their work 
to be done at a less average cost than four mills per ton, or 
about eight times the 1000-ton barge rate. The Legislature 
again cautiously did nothing except to direct the State En- 


gineer and Surveyor to prepare complete surveys, plans and 
estimates of the cost of enlarging the Erie canal to ten feet, 
the Oswego canal to nine feet, and the Champlain canal to 
seven feet, of draft. The State Engineer and Surveyor took 
a year to do this work and had the assistance of the ablest 
engineers in the country. His report is the basis of the 
$101,000,000 referendum to be voted upon by the people 
this fall. No other State work has ever been preceded by 
such careful investigation, or by such a complete and de- 
tailed estimate of cost. Under the act of June 4, 1897, the 
President of the United States appointed a ship canal com- 
mission which reported to Congress on June 30, 1897, that 
a twenty-one foot ship canal, permitting navigation by lake 
vessels of nineteen-foot draft, could be built by the Oswego 
or Champlain routes for about $310,000,000. The report 
says, that before this deep waterway can be opened for 
business our State canals must be abandoned ; there will be 
no water left for them. Governor Black's commission says. 
wisely, I think, that "The construction of a ship canal across 
the State should not be permitted to interfere with existing 
State canals." To permit a government ship canal to thus 
destroy our State canals would be doing as the dog did 
when he dropped his bone in crossing a stream to dive for 
the shadow in the water. An advocate of the government 
ship canal says in a communication to the Utica Daily Press 
that agitation for a ship canal began in the '70s ; that con- 
ventions for it w T ere held in the early '90s; that President 
Cleveland appointed a commission to investigate in 1885 ; 
that Congress provided for a survey in 1897, and the same 
was submitted in 1900. We might add that Congress has 
done nothing about it since! An old canal boat on our 
present dilapidated canal can make better time than that! 
If it has taken thirty-three years to get as far as a survey 
for a ship canal, it baffles the imagination to conceive of 
centuries enough to build it; meanwhile our competitors 
are despoiling us of our long conceded commercial su- 
premacy. Had we not better call a halt on that by improv- 
ing our own canals and letting the ship canal come when it 


may? All the ports from Maine to Mississippi are competi- 
tors of New York State, for east and west business, and we 
will get a ship canal when they and their railroads and 
tributaries, territory and customers are ready to commit 
commercial hari-kari and turn their business over to New 
York State. Shall we wait for our competitors to build a 
ship canal more for our benefit than their own? It is not 
necessary to feel inhospitable to a government ship cana-, 
but it is very necessary that we hold on to what we have 
got and do not permit a dream to lull us into such fancied 
security in our position that we make no effort on our part 
to improve our own State waterways. Do not forget either 
that New York pays about one-sixth of all national expen- 
ditures. A ship canal will be very expensive to us in itself, 
and more so in the reciprocation of similar favors that it will 
involve to other states. 

No citizen who now favors canal abandonment, or a ship 
canal, or a nine foot canal, or a State railroad in the canal 
bed ; or one who deems statutory regulation of railroad rates 
sufficient to protect the people, should do himself and the 
State the injustice of voting upon this important question 
without reading those reports to which I have called atten- 
tion and also the reports of the Interstate Commerce Com- 
mission, stating, year after year, that all the legislation of 
fifty years past designed to regulate and control railroad 
rates has utterly failed, and that railroads in spite of them 
charge and discriminate as they like unless restrained by 
water competition. Whatever a man's present views are 
they cannot fail to be either greatly confirmed, modified, or 
totally changed by the flood of facts and information con- 
tained in these official reports. Governor Odell stated the 
question before the people at Buffalo on September n with 
great clearness, with commendable fidelity to his duty as 
governor ; his warning of the momentous consequences in- 
volved in the decision of the question should arrest atten- 
tion and compel men to weigh well before voting what 
rejection of the barge canal referendum means. 

We have had too much reliance for thirty years past upon 


Mew York railroads as the knight-errants of our commer- 
cial goddess. Whereas they have been simply and quite 
properly occupied in taking care of their stockholders re- 
gardless of the goddess. To this end they have for twenty 
years past avoided rate wars and money loss by assisting in 
the diversion of our canal traffic to rival Atlantic ports, by 
means of Chicago and Buffalo differentials in rates in favor 
of those ports for the same or greater service, and through 
control acquired and exercised over canal terminal storage 
and elevator charges. The manipulation of these devices 
has skilfully diverted canal traffic only, to rival ports, and 
hence New York railroads, having lost nothing themselves, 
shed no tears over the situation, and share not our lamenta- 
tions. Again, no port or State can longer rely upon the old 
fashioned idea that its railroads must or will fight its bat- 
tles. Owing to combination, to amicable division of traffic, 
to large holdings in each other's stock, and to the extension 
of their lines and connections to different ports, the trunk 
lines have ceased to be the special champions of, or depend- 
ent upon, any particular port or ports. In this connection 
a recent report of the Interstate Commerce Commission 
says : 

<l It is a matter of common knowledge that vast schemes of rail- 
road control are now in process of consummation, and that the com- 
petition of rival lines is to be restrained by these combinations. 
While this movement has not yet found full expression in the actual 
consolidation of railroad corporations, enough has transpired to dis- 
close a unification of financial interests which will dominate the 
management and harmonize the operation of lines heretofore inde- 
pendent and competitive. This is today the most noticeable and im- 
portant feature of the railway situation. If the plans already fore- 
shadowed are brought to effective results, and others of similar scope 
are carried to execution there will be a vast centralization of railroad 
properties, with all the power involved in such far-reaching combina- 
tions, yet uncontrolled by any public authority which can be efficiently 
exerted. The restraints of competition upon excessive and unjust 
rates will in this way be avoided, and whatever evils may result will 
be remediless under existing laws." 

The remedy to be adopted by the people in view of the 
situation so clearly pointed out, the sole remedy, the abund- 


ant and all-sufficient remedy according to the judgment of 
very many thorough investigators of the question, was well 
and briefly expressed by the Interstate Commerce Commis- 
sion itself in the export rate case in the following language: 

"The great supremacy of New York in the past has been meas- 
urably due to its canals. If it would hold that supremacy in the 
future, it must give attention to that same waterway. If the canal 
was to be restored today to the same position in the carrying trade 
that it has occupied within the twenty years past, the commerce of 
the port of New York could not suffer." 

Railroads, canals and highways form a trinity and to- 
gether cover transportation and travel in every phase. Each 
can handle some kind of traffic more advantageously than 
the others, and hence all three in their highest state of effi- 
ciency are found in the end to be the condition that is best 
for the people and for each of the three. Railroads for pas- 
sengers and high-class freight; highways for driving and 
for the farmer; canals for coarse raw material like sand, 
stone, lumber, coal and ores, although canal improvement 
abroad has caused package freight to increase to a greater 
extent than upon railroads. For instance, a man at my 
home at Forestport last fall shipped 400 boat loads of sand 
to manufacturers along the Erie canal. He got seventy 
cents a yard for it delivered. A boat carried eighty yards 
only because we have let the Black River canal fill until 
there is but three feet ten inches of draught allowable. The 
sand brought $56. The boatman got one-half and the shov- 
elers the rest except $5 per load which the shipper got. 
Without the canal that sand could not have been moved at 
all at such a price by railroad or highway. The transaction 
benefited every one and ultimately the railroads more than 
any one else, because that cheap sand helped the manufac- 
turer to expand his business and produce high-class goods 
upon which the railroads got high-class rates for bringing 
them to you and me. Any business-man can think of hun- 
dreds of such instances, showing how waterways serve to 
supplement railroads and highways. 


In one respect there is a radical difference between two 
of the three and the third. Highways and canals are free 
for public use, and hence cannot be entirely monopolized ; 
no matter how far this may be attempted, or carried, a man 
can still drive his own horse and wagon on a highway, and 
paddle his own canoe, or pike-pole, or mule-haul, or steam- 
drive his boat upon a free waterway ; railroads are private 
concerns in business for profit. Their opportunities and 
position give them a monopolistic character, and hence 
unless regulated and controlled by public authority or com- 
petition, they may greatly oppress and injure the public to 
whose use they are essential, and for whose use their con- 
tinual improvement is as necessary as either canal or high- 
way development; perhaps more so. 

To protect the people against the tendency of railroads to 
charge more than the cost of service, or a fair profit, has 
been the object of an immense amount of legislation for 
fifty years past. The latest attempt in that line has been 
railroad commissions. Legislation and commissions, how- 
ever, have failed, utterly and ignobly failed ; railroad com- 
bination has beaten them and competition out. You cannot 
regulate complicated railroad rates in that way or by statute 
alone. There has to be something else. Older nations than 
we have gone through all of our experience, and have 
found this something else to be canals and internal high- 
ways owned and controlled by the State and kept in the 
same condition of modern improvement that railroads are. 
I am becoming more and more satisfied that the utmost 
perfection to be attained under the Interstate Commerce law 
and State statutes will fail to give full relief, remedy and 
satisfaction unless supplemented by canals and waterways. 

These are found to operate effectively as rate regulators, 
particularly on coarse freights, because water transportation 
is thus far the cheapest known. Ocean rates average about 
one-half mill, lake rates three-quarters of a mill, canal rates 
two mills, even on our neglected Erie, and New York Cen- 
tral rates on a modern railroad at least six mills per ton 
mile, or twelve times the ocean rate. For this reason rail- 


roads bring their grain 865 miles by lake to Buffalo from 
Chicago instead of hauling 440 miles by rail. The Michigan 
ores for Pittsburg furnaces come by lake instead of rail for 
the same reason. Coal is carried west by lake as low as 25 
cents a ton for 1000 miles for a like reason ; from the mines 
to tidewater, a distance of less than 400 miles, railroads 
charge about $1.50 per ton, or six times a paying rate by 
water for double the distance. 

Homely illustrations of this fact within the observation 
of every man are, however, even more convincing than sta- 
tistics. A man with a pike-pole can move a boat loaded 
with 8000 bushels of grain a certain distance in an hour for 
a total cost of not over a dollar probably ; with a pair of 
mules much further, and with steam further still at small 
additional cost. These 8000 bushels moved the same dis- 
tance by highway would require many teams, wagons and 
men, and by railway, a roadbed, rails, cars, locomotives and 
skilled, high-priced employes, and therefore costs very much 
more. From the pack basket by land and the canoe by 
water, up to the Mogul engine and its forty loaded cars and 
the 20,000 ton steamer, this great difference in favor of low 
transportation cost by water always has existed and always 
will exist. This fact lies at the foundation of our belief that 
our canals, deepened and widened with proper locks and ter- 
minals for the use of boats up to the practical, profitable 
limit of 1000 ton barge capacity by giving us the cheapest 
and most advantageous inland water route in the world, will 
benefit every citizen of the State, no matter where he lives, 
whose business interests will be promoted by either local or 
general prosperity throughout the State, or who has any 
use for transportation in what he buys and sells. 

The competitive effect of water competition upon rail 
rates is seen in the following class rates in both directions 
on two great railroads : 

New York and Pittsburg— 1-45, 2-39, 3-30, 4-21, 5-18, 

New York and Buffalo — 1-39, 2-33, 3-28, 4-19, 5-16, 


This means that because of canal competition we in New 
York State pay an average of nearly five cents per ioo 
pounds less freight between New York and Bultalo and in- 
termediate stations than the people of Pennsylvania pay the 
Pennsylvania road for like service. The same comparison 
of rates carried out at Baltimore and Newport News proves 
that our New Y r ork railroad rates average eleven cents per 
ioo pounds less; at Norfolk nineteen cents per ioo pounds 
less. It will be seen that Senator Depew was right when 
he said that the Erie canal once forced upon the New Y^ork 
Central the lowest freight rates in the world, because of 
canal competition. When the canal was comparatively fit 
the difference was far greater than it is now. I have never 
seen the statement of the Philadelphia Record contradicted 
that the loss of her canals cost Pennsylvania $63,000,000 
per year in freight discriminations against grain, oil and 
flour alone. Because New York has not yet followed the 
bad example set by Pennsylvania of turning her canals over 
to the railroads to be destroyed, she can buy all her coal 
from Pennsylvania and yet far outrank her in wealth. 

Since the days of Clinton the value of the canal as a rate 
regulator in their day, has been urged by our statesmen of 
all parties, such as Seymour, Tiki en, Evarts, Conkling, Fish 
and Hewitt. No statesman ever more truthfully held up to 
public view the value of the Erie canal than Senator Win- 
dom in presenting a report of a committee years ago to the 
United States Senate, when he said : 

"The wide sweep of competitive influence exerted by the Erie 
canal is not generally understood or appreciated. You would doubt- 
less be surprised. Mr. President, if I told you that the ' little ditch ' 
which runs through your State holds in check and regulates nearly 
every leading railroad east of the Mississippi river, and that it exerts 
a marked influence on the cost of transportation over all the country, 
extending from the interior of the Gulf States to the St. Lawrence 
river, and from the great plains of the eastern foothills of the Rocky 
Mountains to the Atlantic ocean. And yet such is the fact." 

1 might occupy your time for hours with citations to the 
same effect from reports of State railroad commissions, the 
Interstate Commerce Commission, and committees, such as 


the Hepburn committee and Governor Roosevelt's com- 
mittee on canals. We find our most convincing- proof, 
however, of the now nearly lost regulating- value of the 
Erie canal in the utterances of railroad managers and ex- 
perts usually under oath. They are all forced to admit as 
stated by Albert Fink, to wit: "The Erie canal regulates 
the freight rates on all the railroads east of the Mississippi 
river, not only on the roads whose tracks run parallel with 
the canal, but upon those which run in an opposite direc- 
tion." Mr. Blanchard said before the Hepburn committee: 
"The State holds within its grasp the greatest controller of 
freight rates within its borders, to wit, the canal. There is 
not a town that is not affected more or less by the canals 
in this whole State, from the extreme northeast to the ex- 
treme southwest corner of it, by the canal policy and the 
canal rates of freight in this State/' He illustrated this bv 
pointing out how rates on the Erie railroad were lowered by 
Erie canal influences. 

Senator Depew summed the matter up in his felicitous 
way in a speech that he made at Elmira as follows : 

"There is another great question in which we as owner are all 
interested, and that is the State canals. I am in favor of canals. 
There is an impression that from official and business associations 
I ought to be opposed to the canals, and that I am ; but that is a 
very narrow view of the situation. The canals compete with the 
roads with which I am connected at every point. That is true. The 
canals compel very low rates of transportation, lower than on any 
other railroad in the world. This is true. But the canals in their 
connection with the Great Lakes, these inland seas of our country, 
compel the commerce which floats upon these seas to find the port 
of Buffalo in the hope of getting through the canal to the seaboard. 
The surplus which the canal cannot carry comes to the railroads, 
and the prosperity which the canal and the lakes give to the State 
of New York in the promotion of their business comes in turn to 
the railway." 

Mr. Daniels of the New York Central has been busy 
making and circulating able speeches full of so-called 
reasons why the canal should be abandoned. I think it 
would be well for us to print and circulate one of them as a 
canal campaign document if he will add to it as a postscript 


that Senator Depew, his former president, once said that 
when lit the Erie canal competition forced upon the New 
York Central the lowest railroad rates in the world. 

The last thought suggested by the senator is full of food 
for reflection. When he spoke in 1891 New York railroads 
and canals were still- really cooperative and hence our com- 
mercial supremacy then. High grade freight and finished 
articles naturally sought railroad service. Crude materials 
such as lumber, clay, stone, sand, ores and coal could be 
more cheaply and usually with speed enough carried by 
water and when worked up needed railroad service for de- 
livery to customers. Thus the railroads and canals played 
into each other's hands ; each was prosperous when com- 
peting side by side because together they covered the whole 
field of transportation and attracted from competing routes 
and ports every variety of commodity seeking markets. 
Why, since 1891, have New York railroads repudiated the 
senator's position? Because they have ceased to be com- 
petitors with railroads to other ports. They are in combi- 
nation with the other trunk lines and now have a common 
interest with them in desiring to kill the Erie canal. Were 
it not for the canal the combination of the trunk lines could 
get all traffic east of Chicago, apportionate it among the 
different lines and ports and fix rates. In 1891, the New 
York roads had the use for the canal pointed out by Senator 
Depew, but since the combination which they have joined 
can control all traffic east of Chicago, it has no use what- 
ever for canals, especially a barge canal, and hence seeks 
their destruction. The rapid progress of railroad combina- 
tion makes an improved Erie canal more essential than ever 
for the protection of our commerce as a regulator of rates, 
and therefore the people will not only retain it but will im- 
prove it so that it may be as effective as possible in this di- 
rection. Governor Odell well said at Buffalo the other day 
that not to improve it as proposed is to abandon it; he 
urged the people to consider well the consequences before 
voting to adopt that course. The State Engineer and Sur- 
veyor reports that within from five to nine years all Erie 


canal structures must be rebuilt in order to keep the canal 
where it is ; the people will vote for no such expenditure, 
and hence Governor Odell's warning. 

Again, railroads need canals beside them not only to 
regulate their rates, but to increase their business and pro- 
mote their prosperity. No sane man would wish otherwise 
because it is best for the State, the people and their business 
that railroads should prosper. Long experience in this and 
other countries warrants the statement that the ideal trans- 
portation situation in a country for the people and for both 
of them is for canals and railroads to compete side by side. 
We know this is true in New York State because while the 
New York Central has regularly paid dividends, the Erie 
railroad has been bankrupt many of the years since the 
State gave it $3,000,000 to stifle the. southern tier complaint 
about the Erie canal expenditure. Strange as it seems, a 
railroad cannot get as much business or profit out of a 
monopoly of a situation as it can where competing to get a 
share of the greater volume of business that a cheap water 
route beside it attracts. Such is, also, not only our own, but 
foreign experience. In 100 years past France has spent 
$750,000,000 on canals, $600,000,000 on railroads, and 
$650,000,000 on highways. She treats them as part of a 
transportation whole. Although having 196 improved 
waterways 7000 miles in length in an area less than Texas, 
she still wants more, and hence appropriated $132,000,000 
last year to build them. The Northern Railroad Company, 
competing in its territory with 43 per cent, of the boating 
capacity of France, was the only one in a recent year that 
paid dividends. Those who fear that the 1000-ton barge 
canal will hurt railroads should note this fact. France in 
return for the control she assumes over railroads guarantees 
the payment of interest on their securities. If water com- 
petition did not benefit railroads as a matter of long experi- 
ence would France in view of this guaranty be building 
canals at such a rate? What she has learned in this regard 
is stated in a report recently made by a committee to the 
French Senate in the following language: 


"It is conceded that waterways and railways are destined not to 
supplant, but to supplement each other. Between the two there is 
a natural division of traihc. To the railroad goes the least burden- 
some traffic, which demands regularity and quick transit; to the 
waterways gravitate the heavy freights of small value, which can 
only be transported where freights are low." 

Waterways, by increasing traffic, are rather the auxilia- 
ries than the competitors of railroads. In procuring for 
manufacture cheap transportation for coal and raw mate- 
rials, they create freights whose subsequent transportation 
gives profit to the railroads." Between 1872 and 1897 tne 
water traffic of France increased 140 per cent, as against 
a railroad increase of 75 per cent. 

Germany gets over one-half of her gross income and over 
$50,000,000 a year profit from 18,000 miles of railroad 
owned by the state out of about 20,000 miles in all, and yet 
she maintains over 9000 miles of competitive canals and 
navigable rivers, and is preparing plans to spend $100,- 
000,000 on a new canal between the Rhine and the Elbe. 

Her reasons for her treatment of the transportation 
question are reported by our consul general, Mason, as 
follows : 

"German statesmanship was among the first to foresee that the 
time would come when, railways having reached their maximum 
extension and efficiency, there would remain a vast surplus of coarse, 
raw materials — coal, ores, timber, stone and crude materials — which 
could be economically carried long distances only by water transpor- 
tation, and that in a fully developed national system the proper role 
of railroads would be to carry passengers, and the higher class of 
merchandise manufactured from' the raw staples which the water- 
ways had brought to their doors." 

On September 10th the New York Times published a 
communication from its Berlin correspondent which says 
that United States Congressman Burton, chairman of the 
River and Harbor Committee of the House, has returned 
there after his inquiry into the river and harbor improve- 
ments in eastern and southeastern Europe. Speaking of his 
investigations, which were begun early in June, Mr. Burton 


"We found illustrations throwing light upon almost every propo- 
sition in the river and harbor works of the United States. Every- 
where in Europe there is a disposition to make increased use of the 
inland waterways, whether rivers or canals. The value of this 
means of transportation is coming to be realized more and more. In 
France and Germany and portions of Russia the quantity of freight 
carried by water is increasing more than that carried by rail. There 
is a strong movement for the improvement of the inland waterways, 
and there is a growing opinion also, though not as potent or uni- 
versal, in favor of tolls on the waterways which are improved." 

Some thousands of new buildings in Manchester, Eng., 
with its railroads rapidly enlarging their terminal facilities 
at that point, tell us how wise it was for Manchester to 
spend $40,000,000 recently to build a short canal to the sea. 
The water competition that she thus forced upon her rail- 
roads cut down their rates and yet benefited them through 
the increased business brought to Manchester and to them 

Belgium and Russia, owning railroads themselves, have 
spent a mint of money on their canals, which show a con- 
stant increase in water traffic, especially in package freight. 
Canada with her fourteen- foot Welland canal, increasing 
its tonnage year by year, has spent and proposes to spend, 
in her new twenty- foot canal, 430 miles in length from Lake 
Huron to the St. Lawrence, an amount of money that, con- 
sidering her resources, is far beyond anything that New 
York State thinks of spending upon our canals. In the face 
of this race that is going on among our competitors every- 
where to secure for their own benefit the low cost of water 
transportation, we are urged by the railroads and their 
allies to throw away our opportunity through canal en- 
largement to grasp the east and west commerce of the 
future and to get and keep in our possession for the benefit 
of our merchants, manufacturers, farmers and laborers by 
far the most important and extensive low water rate trans- 
portation route in the world. I call attention to these 
foreign countries because they are our competitors in manu- 
facturing, and we must meet every device and policy of 
theirs tending to cheapen production and transportation. 


We are engaged in commercial strife for the world trade 
with Europe and it will become far more intense before we 
reach the top. In that contest nothing will be a more im- 
portant factor than our manufacturer's cost for transporta- 
tion. The 196 improved canals and waterways, 7000 miles 
long", within the limited area where the industries of 35,- 
000,000 people in France are carried on, have potentially 
assisted her thus far to lead as in the volume of her export 
and import trade with the exception of one year. As her 
competitor we certainly cannot neglect to improve every 
available means of cheapening transportation cost for our 
manufacturers, especially when we remember that the indus- 
tries of 35,000,000 of our people would cover an area prob- 
ably ten times greater than France and hence must have 
equally cheap transportation for far greater distances. This 
same situation exists as to Germany, England, Belgium and 
all foreign countries. They have far more improved water- 
ways now than we have and are constantly increasing them 
at great cost. This fact seems to me to be a very strong 
argument in favor of the barge canal and of all similar 
public undertakings. Each of them is a wise step towards 
cheapening transportation cost and thus strengthening our 
competitive position abroad. 

In the New York Herald of recent date the greatly con- 
gested condition of the trunk lines is noted ; it is called car 
shortage. Does not car shortage at present simply mean 
lack of terminal facilities for loading and unloading cars 
quickly? A car that makes 15 miles an hour on the track 
often does not move a mile in three days at terminals. Is 
not this fact a most urgent appeal for the improvement and 
enlargement of internal waterways to relieve and supple- 
ment railroads by handling raw materials and coarse 
freights at congested centers like New York, Buffalo, 
Pittsburg, Chicago, and all points where manufacturing 
concentrates, and must it not in the future, to the advantage 
of our State, concentrate where both rail and water 
facilities are accessible? Is it not now plain that rail- 
road terminal facilities cannot keep pace with the 


growth of the country so as to handle all traffic as 
promptly as required by business necessities? Was not 
the steel industry almost paralyzed at Pittsburg last win- 
ter through failure of the railroads to promptly move 
raw materials in and finished product out? The proposed 
spending of $60,000,000 by the Pennsylvania in its tunnels 
would seem to indicate that the limit of enlarged terminal 
facilities in New York City above ground had nearly been 
reached. Since the New York Central now needs at least 
double its present terminal capacity, what relief can it give 
us twenty years from now within reasonable capital expen- 
diture, assuming that our population doubles and our export 
and import trade, now 50 per cent, of England's, becomes 
equal to, or greater than hers? Is not so-called car shortage 
traced to its real source a fact that calls for the barge canal 
enlargement as a wise and provident provision in our State 
for its future transportation requirements, with benefit not 
only to the people but to the railroads? I doubt not that in 
time it will be followed by a ship canal on the Ontario lake 
route and by lateral canals covering the State in all direc- 
tions as in England where the Thames is the trunk line for 
six connecting canals. Such a public policy begun with our 
barge canal and steadily pursued thereafter will in every 
aspect of the question be of vast benefit to both railroads 
and the people. 

My practical knowledge of how much canal the farmer 
needs centers about my farm at Forestport. All the flour 
we use and much of the grain we feed to our stock comes 
from the West, and we want to get it as cheap as we can. 
Our canal rates are now just one-half railroad rates from 
nearby canal points, and that suits us well, and it will suit 
us better when the barge canal makes rates cheaper still, 
and from a greater distance. T3o not four-fifths of the 
farmers in New York State eat western flour, and feed 
western grain, and if so, do they not want the cheapest way 
to get it here? We find at Forestport that we can put our 
land to better use than raising grain for market, and we 
have no desire to close up canals, put up railroad rates, and 


go back into that business in competition with cheap fertile 
western land. It is not the canal that brings eggs, butter, 
cheese, beef, mutton, pork, lard, vinegar and fruit to com- 
pete with our farmers ; that is what the railroads do and 
will do canal or no canal. We can send potatoes to New 
York City from Forestport by boat for six or seven cents 
per bushel, with winter storage added until they are sold. 
The railroads ask thirteen cents a bushel with no storage, 
and if we had no canal we fear it would charge more, and 
leave very little of the market price for us, unless it forced 
the consumer, who is generally as poor as ourselves, to pay 
a good deal more. We get our salt from Syracuse, 75 miles 
by canal, for ten cents per barrel ; weight, 280 pounds, three 
cents per 100 pounds, and recently by rail for the same. 
Railroad rates are reasonable when the stuff is something a 
boat can carry and deliver ; when not, they are two or three 
times what the boat charges, or even what they themselves 
in competition with the boat charge on similar articles. 
Upon a barge canal with suitable terminal facilities many 
more articles can be carried, and the field of competition 
greatly extended. This at least will not hurt either pro- 
ducer or consumer. Every farmer in the State gets some 
of this benefit from the canal. Those near the canal get 
the most benefit and pay the most taxes, but all get some 
because, as I have before stated, even Erie railroad rates 
are affected by canal competition, or at least were when the 
canal was comparatively fit, and will be again when it is 
properly improved and managed. No matter where a far- 
mer lives his rate to and from New York is on some part of 
the route lowered by canal competition; a barge canal will 
lower it much more. 

I certainly can see no objection from any standpoint to 
counties, cities and towns along canal lines, that now pay 
about 90 per cent, of our State taxes, growing so rich and 
populous through canal enlargement that they will pay even 
a larger percentage, especially for good roads, and in addi- 
tion furnish ready markets for all that our farms, gardens 
and forests can produce. If it is business to manufacture 


where it is cheapest, why is it visionary to believe that the 
$50,000,000 steel plant now building at Buffalo will be du- 
plicated at many points along a barge canal? With such a 
route from the ore beds to the ocean, no other route could 
profitably compete with it in cheaply transporting the ore 
and its finished product to New York City, there to be used 
in shipbuilding, or to be distributed over the world. An- 
drew Carnegie wrote an open letter lately, saying that if he 
owned the Erie canal he would make it a barge canal at 
once, and put his steel plant upon it. Certainly he knows 
what he is talking about when it comes to the steel and iron 
business. Increase in manufacturing in this or any other 
direction cannot but help farmers everywhere in the State. 

We find at Forestport that the canal helps us to get our 
crops and products to market at low rates by either water or 
rail, and also helps us to get back our necessaries at similar 
rates; and if a poor, dilapidated, broken-down canal does 
that we cannot see why a modern, up-to-date canal will not 
give us lower rates still, increase the number and demand 
of our city customers, and thus add value to our land and 

Our fifteen senators say that instead of building a barge 
canal it is better to build a State railroad. All of our com- 
petitors approve of this idea. 

By the by, what would become of a State railroad built 
in the bed of the Erie canal, as these senators suggest? 
Within ten years the railroad combination would own it, 
that's what would become of it — to the delight of canal op- 
ponents, no doubt. It would have no friendly connections 
east or west; when the New York Central got to Buffalo it 
had to buy railroads clear through to the Pacific coast to 
protect itself. The Erie railroad is looking for alliance of 
the same kind to put it on its feet. You can read about it 
every day in the newspapers. Can the State do that? 
Would not such a bottlecl-up State railroad be at the mercy 
of the railroad combination that either owns or controls 
through agreement all the elevators on shore or afloat at 
New York and Buffalo? The extortionate elevator charges 


which the fifteen senators pretend hurt them so have been 
imposed by the railroads ever since the date when they 
formed the elevator combination by taking in the floating 
elevators, as testified to by George R. Blanchard, chairman 
of the Joint Traffic Association, before the Interstate Com- 
merce Commission. A barge canal with suitable terminals 
and elevators, if necessary, as recommended by Governor 
Black's commission, will very soon end railroad elevator 
extortion at New York and Buffalo. No legislation ever 
has or will. There is a plain statute against it now, but no 
respect is paid to it. A State railroad would ultimately only 
increase it. No, gentlemen, the elevator combination is not 
responsible, as some seem to believe, for the canal enlarge- 
ment agitation. Any one who cares to know the truth will 
find upon inquiry that it has not dareci to peep even during 
this canal agitation, because its railroad owners are un- 
wisely opposed to the beneficent scheme. The railroads 
cannot turn their elevator combine loose as a canal oppon- 
ent; that would spoil the game they are playing, but they 
can keep and have kept them mum. 

The fifteen senators need not fear that our home labor 
will be hurt. The barge canal will cost $1.20 per year for 
eighteen years for each $1000 of present assessed value. 
This will pay the principal and interest of $100,000,000 of 
bonds, unless this is avoided, as seems likely, by indirect 
taxation and extending the time of payment to fifty years. 
This money will be paid to American citizens for honest 
work done within the State and it will thereafter circulate 
here among our own people and do them good. Chapter 
454 of the laws of 1902 provides that only American citi- 
zens can be employed upon public work, and that among 
laborers preference must be given to citizens of the State. 
Canal opponents have overlooked this statute. It is a pity 
that this fear of foreign hordes of cheap labor did not strike 
the Senate when it legislated so that $100,000,000 could be 
spent in building the subway and the Pennsylvania Railroad 
tunnels in New York City, where the hordes land. Labor 
will not be hurt in having work to do in building the barge 


canal; neither will the cheapening of transporting the 
necessaries of life thereby caused injure it. 

It would seetn as though a thorough understanding on 
the part of all the people cannot but lead them to the con- 
clusion that the expenditure needed for a iooo-ton barge 
canal will in the end be wise and will be repaid to them 
many times over in the decreased cost of transportation and 
in the increased commerce, business, manufacturing and de- 
mand for farm and garden products that will be promoted 
thereby throughout the State. 

Spring floods in the Hudson, Mohawk and Black river 
valleys and the recent drouth suggest another thought in 
connection with the barge canal. Every drop of those floods 
is valuable and in time will not be wasted. 

Why cannot a barge canal become in the future a great 
reservoir to supply the industries, at least of towns, villages 
and cities, with water at low cost? The State might thus 
derive a revenue that would largely and perhaps wholly pay 
the cost of maintenance. Supply is simply a question of 
reservoirs in the Adirondacks. 

England has shown us how to do it in Egypt. The 
Assouan dam, a mile and a quarter long, duplicated near 
our head waters in the North Woods would not only supply 
the canal, but lift the burden of high water cost from every 
manufacturing industry between Syracuse and Albany. 
W r hy have cities, towns and villages been duplicating at great 
expense innumerable reservoirs that can largely be purely 
supplied through filtration so easily and at so much less cost 
as a single undertaking by the State? Such reservoirs 
would also be laying the foundation for developing the 
power, as at Niagara Falls, that disappearing coal and fuel 
supply will one day make invaluable. 

This may be a dream, but I think not. I firmly believe 
that the day is not far distant when we will not let spring 
floods run away with water and power that we shall need 
more and more as the State grows. The barge canal which 
we now think of for navigation purpose^ alone will ulti- 
mately prove a great blessing as a source of water supply. 


FROM 1895 TO 1903 


Secretary of the Canal Improvement State Committee. 

The writer of this article was not identified with canal 
matters prior to 1895, but it can be said that a subtle 
struggle had been carried on for years by the railroads of 
the State against the traffic interests of internal waterways 
in this State. 

The abandonment of the canals leading into the coal 
regions was one of the first steps of this struggle. The 
closing of the Chemung and Chenango canals without doubt 
cost the users of anthracite coal in this country not less than 
two dollars per ton. After the abandonment of the Chen- 
nango, Chemung and Genesee Valley canals, the next step 
was to so cripple the appropriations for the Erie canal that 
it would finally be abandoned and then there would be no 
possible check on rates to or from the seaboard. 

The real friends of the canal system of the State had 
become discouraged at the apathy of the public and appalled 
by the efforts of anti-canal interests, and only a spark was 
left of the enthusiasm displayed in the early days of canal 

By persistent fighting against great discouragement 
Hon. George Clinton secured, in 1884, an appropriation to 
begin the lengthening of the locks. His idea was that if 




even a little could be done, the future would finally bring 
about a proper improvement of the canal system. 

Later, the fate of the canals hung by the smallest thread 
in the Constitutional Convention of 1894. The foes of the 
canal urged on its abandonment. The railroad interests 
took advantage of the lack of business foresight of the canal 
people as to what canal abandonment would really mean. 
Had it not been for the persistent struggle of Hon. Henry 
W. Hill of Buffalo in the Constitutional Convention of 1894 
the fate of the canals of the State would have been sealed 
then and there. Fortunately for the State, fortunately for 
the nation, the efforts of Mr. Hill were successful and the 
Constitution of 1894 declared against canal abandonment. 

Hon. Horatio Seymour of Utica was always a staunch 
friend of the canals, and in 1882 proposed a plan of canal 
enlargement that after some thirteen years of desultory 
canal agitation finally became the basis of the canal im- 
provement bill of 1895. 

This effort for canal enlargement, as it afterward turned 
out, was injurious to the cause of canal improvement. The 
plan of enlargement was years behind the times, but the 
friends of the canals were timid and felt that anything they 
could get was of advantage. The estimate of nine million 
dollars for the enlargement proposed, which would increase 
the capacity of the canal craft by only some forty per cent., 
was found to be entirely too low, and the work was never 
completed. It was fortunate that so small a sum was appro- 
priated and the work stopped where it was. The passage of 
the bill of 1895, however, did arouse the old canal friends 
to the importance of the canal once more, and new life was 
given and suggestions were made for a very much larger 

The so-called nine million dollar canal bill was passed 
in November, 1895. In 1896 the writer proposed a plan of 
canal enlargement that would have given a capacity of 
about two and one-half times the size of boats then in use. 
This plan was to ask the General Government to widen the 
locks of the Erie canal so that torpedo-boats, torpedo-boat 
destroyers and light-draft gunboats could be moved from 

FROAf 1895 TO 1903. 159 

the coast to the inland lakes. I advanced this project at the 
time when the Venezuela scare made war seem possible 
between the United States and England. .The plan attracted 
wide notice at that time on account of the strategic possi- 
bilities and the War and Navy departments gave the plan 
approval. A canvass was made of leading Senators and 
Representatives, and it would have been possible at that 
time to have secured Government support ; but, as usual, 
selfish interests stepped in at one point and old fogy 
business ideas at another point and this plan was laid aside. 
As it turned out, the agitation which resulted was the means 
of finally securing a larger and better canal than that pro- 
posed by me in 1896. 

The elevator interests of Buffalo took the narrow ground 
that the boats which my plan would make possible would be 
able to navigate Lake Erie and thence through to New 
York without breaking bulk and the handling charge would 
be lost to Buffalo. The canal committee of the Produce 
Exchange of New York wrestled' with the plan for a month 
and decided that the 8,000-bushel boat was the proper unit, 
and so their support could not be secured. Thus the two 
great cities which would be the most benefited and which 
afterwards so grandly carried the larger project through, 
made it impossible to get a resolution through the Board of 
Trade of Buffalo or the commercial bodies of New York in 
favor of having the canal enlarged two and one-half times. 

However, this opposition was destined not to defeat the 
effort for a much larger canal. I requested Hon. R. B. 
Mahany of Buffalo to introduce a bill at Washington asking 
that an estimate of cost of widening the locks should be 
obtained. This bill was passed and sent to Major (now 
Colonel) Thomas W. Syrnons, who had recently been sta- 
tioned at Buffalo as U. S. Engineer, that he might make 
necessary estimates. When Mr. Mahany's bill was placed 
in Major Syrnons' hands may be said to be the time when 
the 1000-ton barge canal proposition got its first start. 

Major Syrnons, in making his report in 1897 to the 
Government along the military lines showing what size was 
necessary to float torpedo boats, etc., also took the matter 


up along commercial lines. His report covered the ground 
so fully and made such a splendid showing of the com- 
mercial possibilities to the State of New York from a large 
canal that the canal friends took heart, and instead of mak- 
ing apologies in asking for canal support, began to demand 
its support at the hand of the State. 

The winter of 1898 saw the canal friends again lined up 
for canal improvement. It was then proposed to raise 
$7,000,000 more to complete the original nine-million dollar 
improvement. A hearing was held at Albany and the im- 
provement was urged by a committee consisting of Henry 
W. Hill, George Clinton and Geo. H. Raymond of Buffalo ; 
and Franklin Edson, W. E. Cleary, W. F. McConnell, Capt. 
Du Puy, Erastus Wiman, and Alfred Romer of New r York. 

At the same time the railroad interests were working to 
have canal enlargement defeated or delayed for years by 
trying to have the canals turned over to the General Gov- 
ernment. This fight was waged strongly and bitterly on 
the part of those seeking to save the canals and those seek- 
ing to destroy them. The burden of the fight as has so 
often been the case was borne by George Clinton and Henry 
W. Hill of Buffalo. 

The bill to turn the canals over to the General Govern- 
ment was defeated and the Senator from New York intro- 
ducing it in the Senate was • retired to private life. The 
additional seven million dollar bill was also defeated — for- 
tunately so, the friends of the State canals now believe. At 
the session of 1897- '98, however, a commission was ap- 
pointed by Governor Black to investigate the canal question 
and report to the legislature. This commission was com- 
posed of Chas. A. Schieren, Alexander R. Smith, Andrew 
H. Green, C. C. Shayne and Hugh Kelly, ail of New York. 

The winter of i898-'99 saw Theodore Roosevelt in the 
governor's chair. Governor Roosevelt appointed a com- 
mission as well to take up the canal question exhaustively. 
This committee consisted of Gen. F. V. V. Greene, New 
York; Frank S. Witherbee, Port Henry; Geo. E. Green, 
Binghamton; Major Thos. W. Symons and John N. 
Scatcherd of Buffalo. These gentlemen were all strong 

FROM 1895 TO 1903. 161 

friends of canal improvement. They proceeded to their 
investigations with energy and thoroughness. Hearings 
were held and at the Buffalo hearing in June, 1899, Alfred 
Haines, R. R. Hefford, Henry W. Hill, Thomas M. Ryan, 
L. P. Smith, G. H. Raymond, George D. Gilson, C. H. 
Keep, W. A. Rogers, G. W. Hall and others, advocated 
canal improvement. 

In June, 1899, the commission appointed by Governor 
Black also had a hearing at Buffalo, when among the 
friends of canal improvement who argued at that time in 
favor of a larger canal, appeared Frank B. Baird, G. H. 
Raymond, and Capt. J. J. H. Brown. 

In the winter of 1899 and 1900 the Black commission and 
the Roosevelt commission made their reports. The Black 
commission's report was that the nine-million dollar plan 
should be completed. This report was not at all satisfac- 
tory to the radical canal friends and no move was made on 
their part to carry out these suggestions. 

The Roosevelt commission's report was on very broad 
lines and offered a solution for canal improvement that was 
commensurate with the commercial requirements of the 
State. They recommended a canal to take barges of 1000 
tons capacity, and estimated the cost of such a canal at 
$62,000,000. This report was accepted by the canal's 
friends, and steps were at once taken to formulate a bill 
along those lines, to be introduced the following winter. 
The report of the Roosevelt committee attracted the great- 
est attention and it is safe to say that no State paper dealing 
with the canal question was ever more thorough and ex- 

The canal question had now come to be a burning one. 
Those indefatigable workers for the canals, Frank S. 
Gardner, secretary, and W. F. McConnell. assistant secre- 
tary of the New York Board of Trade and Transportation, 
organized the first State Commerce Convention to be held 
in Utica, October 10-12, 1899. Delegates from Buffalo were 
as follows: From the Merchants' Exchange: John Cun- 
neen, J. J. H. Brown, Theodore S. Fassett, Robert R. Hef- 
ford, G. D. Gilson, O. A. Crandall ; appointed by the Mayor 


of Buffalo: George Clinton, Henry W. Hill, G. H. Ray- 
mond, M. M. Drake, Christopher Holdennan. Other 
Buffalo delegates were Conrad Diehl, mayor of Buffalo, 
Richard Humphrey, William Scott, John Voltz, J. P. Sulli- 
van and Dr. J. D. Bonnar. The convention was a remark- 
able success and pavedi the way for vigorous and concen- 
trated effort for canal enlargement. Addresses were deliv- 
ered by John D. Kernan of Utica, Geo. B. Sloan of Oswego, 
George Clinton, Henry W. Hill, George H. Raymond and 
Dr. John D. Bonnar of Buflalo ; by Erastus Wiman of New 
York, John P. Truesdell, David McClure, George W. Smith 
of Herkimer and John I. Piatt of Poughkeepsie. The last- 
named gentleman, at this convention and at all other times, 
was a bitter opponent of canal improvement, but found 
himself in a hopeless minority of one at this convention. 
The efforts of Capt William C. Clark of Constantia in this 
convention as well as in many other efforts for canal im- 
provement for fifty years past, are entitled to the greatest 
credit. Capt. Clark is a canal man in season and out of 
season and is unwearied in his efforts. Others have become 
disheartened and dropped out, but he never ceases his 
unique campaign. 

On February 7, 1900, Mr. Kernan called a meeting at 
New York of a committee appointed at the Utica Conven- 
tion to take steps to progress the 1000- ton barge canal plan 
at Albany. The following gentlemen met: Mayor Conrad 
Diehl, M. M. Drake and G. H. Raymond of Buffalo ; J. W. 
Abbott and Dr. A. H. Bayard of Cornwall; F. S. Oakes of 
Cattaraugus; E. S. Green, Cohoes ; C. A. Wardle, Cats- 
kill; S. G. Heacock, Ilion ; J. H. Gregory, Kingston; E. B. 
Downing, Oneida ; W. E. Geary, Frank S. Gardner, Wrn. 
F. McConnell, Gen. F. V. V. Greene, Frank S. Witherbee 
New York; A. R. Kissinger, Rome; Francis E. Bacon 
Syracuse; E. F. Murray, Troy; H. W. Miller, J. C 
Hoxie, Utica; Robert H. Cook, Whitehall; and H. W 
Brown, Spencerport. It was voted to approve the Roose 
velt commission report and Capt. Marcus M. Drake, George 
H. Raymond, A. R. Kissinger, C. A. Wardle, W. E. Cleary 

FROM 1895 TO 1903- 163 

E. F. Murray and H. W. Brown, were created a committee 
with power to draw the necessary resolutions. 

The large sum required for the 1000-ton barge canal at 
once roused bitter opposition from the canal enemies and 
all sorts of plans were suggested to placate various sections 
by trying to put the burden on the canal counties alone. 

Various bills were prepared, but so many questions were 
raised that after the committee, consisting of John D. 
Kernan, Henry W. Hill, W. F. McConnell and G. H. Ray- 
mond had a conference with Governor Roosevelt on Feb- 
ruary 20, 1900, the bills were dropped for the session. It 
was, however, decided that the sum of $200,000 should be 
secured to make accurate surveys for the 1 000-ton barge 
canal as outlined by the Roosevelt committee. 

The most determined opposition to this bill was at once 
encountered. It presently seemed as if canal improvement 
were temporarily defeated' and the bill was thought dead. 
At the closing days of the session it was decided to make 
one more effort to pass the bill and W. F. McConnell of 
New York and G. H. Raymond of Buffalo were asked by 
their respective cities to assist Henry W. Hill in leading the 
forlorn hope for the bill. The day before adjournment the 
bill was crowded through the Senate by the brilliant leader- 
ship of Senator Ellsworth of Lockport, assisted by Senator 
Grady of New York. 

The bill was, however, buried in the Rules committee in 
the Assembly, as the majority of that committee were 
opposed to canal improvement. Speaker Nixon steadily 
refused to let the bill come before the House but the pres- 
sure put on the bill through Senator Piatt became too strong 
for Speaker Nixon to ignore, and after the clock had been 
turned back in the Assembly the bill was reported by the 
Rules committee and passed the House, 96 to 46. Probably 
no bill was ever more bitterly fought and none was ever of 
greater importance to the State than that particular survey 
bill. Too much credit cannot be given to Henry W. Hill of 
Buffalo for that victory. 

The passage of the survey bill again put new life into 
the friends of the canals. The second Commerce Conven- 



tion was called for Syracuse June 6 and 7, 1900. The fol- 
lowing were appointed from Buffalo as delegates: George 
Clinton, Henry W. Hill, Capt. J, J. H. Brown, C. H. Keep, 
E. W. Eames, Harris Fosbinder, M. M. Drake, Howard 
Smith, John Laughlin, Frank B. Baird, Major Thos. W. 
Symons, F. C. M. Lautz, and G. H. Raymond. . This con- 
vention was even more successful than the one held at 
Utica and again reflected the untiring efforts of Frank S. 
Gardner and W. F. McConnell of New York in organ- 
izing it. 

Addresses were made by John D. Kernan of Utica, 
Gustav H. Schwab and Abel E. Blackmar of New York, 
Major Thos. W. Symons, George Clinton and G. H. Ray- 
mond of Buffalo, George B. Sloan of Oswego, and Willis 
H. Tennant of Mayville. The convention bore good fruit. 

On June 20, 1900, a sub-committee of the Merchants' 
Exchange was appointed to take up the work of canal im- 
provement systematically and thoroughly. The committee 
consisted of Alfred Haines, President of the Exchange; 
George Clinton, Frank B. Baird, W. A. Rogers, E. L. 
Anthony, L. P. Smith, J. J. H. Brown, Ira M. Rose, Chas. 
Kennedy, Harris Fosbinder and G. H. Raymond. An 
executive committee consisting of Alfred Haines, George 
Clinton and G. H. Raymond was appointed to take general 
charge of the work. The central idea of the executive 
committee was that the people of the State should thor- 
oughly understood just what this 1000-ton barge canal really 
means to the commercial interests of the State, to show the 
farmer and the inhabitants of the counties away from the 
canal that their interest is also very great. In fact it was 
proposed to carry on such a campaign of education on the 
canal question throughout the State that the sixty-two mil- 
lion dollars required for the canal could be secured through 
proper legislative action which it was hoped to secure at 
Albany in the winter of iqoo-'oi. 

A committee to solicit funds to carry on this educational 
campaign was appointed by the Merchants' Exchange, con- 
sisting of Alfred Haines, ex officio chairman, George 

FROM 1895 TO 1903- 165 

Clinton, Charles H. Keep, W. C. Cornwell, and G. H. 

It is proper at this time, to pay a befitting' tribute to 
Alfred Haines for his efforts in the matter of the 1000- 
ton barge canal. To those gentlemen who have borne the 
burden of the fight for it, no words are needed to convince 
them of the importance of the work done by Mr. Haines for 
the canal interests of the State. Without in the least de- 
tracting from the unselfish efforts of many Buffalo people in 
the canal fight it may be said truthfully that if it had not 
been for the efforts of Mr. Plaines in providing the money 
necessary to carry on the canal bureau of the Buffalo Mer- 
chants' Exchange from 1900 to November, 1903, it is very 
doubtful if the 1000-ton barge canal would ever have been 
built. It was this bureau of the Merchants' Exchange that 
kept the fires of canal improvement continually burning. 
New York interests assisted from time to time, but. no other 
persistent effort was made aside from that carried on 
through the canal bureau of the Merchants' Exchange; and 
the money necessary for this work was furnished almost 
entirely through the untiring efforts of Alfred Haines, to 
whose memory the people and commercial interests of 
Buffalo cannot pay too much respect. 

The necessary funds being provided, the canal bureau of 
the Merchants' Exchange of Buffalo was organized and the 
writer was placed in charge. An active and continuous 
campaign of education was begun. A dozen stenographers 
and other office force were secured and enormous quantities 
of letters, circulars and printed matter of various kinds were 
sent all over the State in the effort to pave the way for legis- 
lation at Albany the following session. 

The opposition was also very active in all sections of the 
State, and the farmers through the grange organization 
were steadily becoming more bitter in their opposition. The 
railroads by the efforts of their emissaries were also espe- 
cially active, secretly and openly, to defeat the project. 

The canal bureau of the Merchants' Exchange carried 
its campaign into the enemy's country. Addresses were 
made by the writer before boards of trade in Rochester, 


Syracuse, Binghamton, Dunkirk, Ithaca, Albany, Kingston, 
and other places, preparatory to the legislative campaign of 
1900-1901 at Albany. 

It will be remembered that the canal question was now 
awaiting the result of State Engineer Bond's report on the 
cost of building the 1000-ton barge canal, for which survey 
the $200,000 had been appropriated by the last legislature. 
The dominant party was not friendly to canals by reason of 
its strength lying among the rural or anti-canal sections of 
the State. For this reason Governor Odell had not, like 
Governor Roosevelt, shown any particular love for canal 
improvement. Late in February, 190 1, the report of State 
Engineer Bond gave the estimated cost of the 1 000-ton 
barge canal at $87,000,000, as against the $6.2,000,000 esti- 
mate of the Roosevelt committee, whose estimates were not 
sufficiently complete by reason of their not having time or 
funds to make them so. This increased cost caused Gov- 
ernor Odell to go back to the obsolete Seymour plan, and 
estimates were asked from State Engineer Bond on that 
proposition. The estimate submitted was that to complete 
the Seymour plan along the lines of the nine million dollar 
plan of 1895 would cost, about $19,000,000. The Governor's 
idea was that this obsolete plan should be pursued ; but the 
canal friends would not accept this offer and again did the 
friends of canals rally. 

A meeting of the canal committee of the Buffalo Mer- 
chants' Exchange was held March 16, 1901, at which the 
following were present: George Clinton, O. P. Letchworth, 
president of the Exchange, Alfred Haines, Harris Fos- 
binder, Thos. M. Ryan, Frank B. Baird, J. N. Scatcherd, 
John Cunneen, Howard J. Smith. Richard Humphrey, C. 
H. Keep, J. J. H. Brown and G. H. Raymond. President 
Letchworth, after a spirited meeting, in which decided op- 
position was shown to Governor Odell's plan, appointed a 
committee to meet with the canal friends from other sec- 
tions of the State. It consisted of George Clinton, Alfred 
Haines, John Cunneen, G. H. Raymond and John Laughlin. 
On March 20, 1901, this committee met in Albany, with 
John D. Kernan of Utica, president of the State Commerce 

FROM 1895 TO 1903- 167 

Convention, Franklin Quinby. S. Christy Mead, F. S. 
Gardner, \V. F. McConnell, Frank Brainard, F. Van Vliet, 
William R. Corwine of New York, A. R. Kissinger of 
Rome, A. C. Wardwell of Catskill, John T. Mott and Geo. 
B. Sloan of Oswego. Henry W. Hill of Buffalo was also 

On March 24, 1901, a meeting was called on the Mer- 
chants' Exchange to receive the report of the conference at 
Albany. It was largely attended and the sentiment was still 
strong in favor of the 1000-ton barge canal and in opposi- 
tion to Governor Odell's suggestion. A call for a third 
Commerce convention to be held at Syracuse, March 26 and 
2j, 1 901, was read and President Letchworth of the Mer- 
chants' Exchange appointed the following committee: 
George Clinton, O. P. Letchworth, Alfred Haines, Frank 
B. Baird, M. M. Drake, John Cunncen, John Laughlin, G. 
H. Raymond, H. J. Smith, Harris Fosbinder, J. J. H. 
Brown, ?nd Robert R. Hefcord. This convention was even 
more enthusiastic than the two previous ones and the tone 
of the delegates showed conclusively that the fight for ade- 
quate canal improvement was now fairly on and that no 
compromise or defeat would be permitted. John D. Kernan 
made his usual ringing speech and showed the fallacy of 
accepting any compromise and especially the one suggested 
by Governor Odell of the completion of a plan which had 
been proposed a generation back. After a spirited discus- 
sion a resolution in favor of the 1000- ton barge canal plan 
as being the only acceptable plan was adopted, and the 
following committee appointed to wait on Governor Odell 
at Albany: George Clinton, John Laughlin and G. H. Ray- 
mond of Buffalo, Frank S. Brainard, S. Christy Mead and 
Aaron Vanderbilt of New York, Willis H. Tennant of May- 
ville and S. H. Beach of Rome. This committee had a con- 
ference with Governor Odell on March 29, 1901, but it was 
barren of results along the lines of the Syracuse resolution. 
Governor Odell was not disposed to accept anything look- 
ing to the 1000-ton barge canal, but stood for the obsolete 
Seymour plan, or as better known the completion of the 
nine million dollar plan of 1895. 


All the canal men were dissatisfied with this result. The 
Buffalo interests feared that in view of the Governor's de- 
cision the iooo-ton barge canal must be dropped. The New 
York interests were not unanimous but were divided be- 
tween what they could get, and standing for the iooo-ton 
barge canal or nothing. 

After strong protests and extended conferences it was 
finally agreed upon, between the Buffalo interests, the "up- 
State" interests and a portion of the New York interests, to 
make a struggle for a 450-ton canal at an estimated cost of 
$26,000,000. This lack of harmony among the canal inter- 
ests roused the canal enemies to renewed efforts to defeat 
all canal legislation. A bill carrying an appropriation for 
good roads was quickly introduced by canal opponents, 
knowing that by passing it no bill for canals could be voted 
upon at the same time, according to the Constitution. 

However, the canal friends kept up the fight and a hear- 
ing on the $26,000,000 bill was had before, the Assembly 
committee April 10, 1901. A peculiar condition prevailed. 
Alongside the bitter enemies of all canal improvement were 
lined up the New York interests who would have the iooo- 
ton barge canal or nothing. 

Arguments in favor of the bill were made by George 
Clinton, John Laughlin, E. R. O'Malley and G. H. Raymond 
of Buffalo, and W. E. Cleary of New York. This bill was 
then reported out of committee. This peculiar condition 
could have but one result. It fell to the writer to make an 
effort to get the New York opponents into line, but it failed, 
and on April 20, 1901, the $26,000,000 bill was effectually 
killed when the Tammany Assemblymen withdrew their 

However, the canal friends did not abandon the fight, 
and the Buffalo canal bureaau again took up the struggle 
which, during the summer of 1901, began to take on a dif- 
ferent color. The effort was made to show both political 
parties that it was hardly safe for either to ignore the ques- 
tion in the future as they had done in the past in their fear 
of offending the rural voter. During the early summer the 
New York City canal interests which at one time favored 

FROM 1895 TO 1903. 169 

the J 000-ton barge canal or nothing- were led off to chase 
the ship-canal plan for a time. 

In June, 190 1, at the request of the Merchants' Exchange 
canal bureau, the writer visited New York and again were 
the warring factions brought together and New York, Buf- 
falo and the rest of the State again took up the 1000-ton 
barge canal plan and proposed to fight it out to a finish. 
September 3, 1901, a committee from the Merchants' Ex- 
change consisting of President Haines, W. A. Rogers, Theo. 
S. Fassett, John Cunneen and G. H. Raymond went to New 
York to confer with the New York canal people. As a 
result an active campaign was planned for the next session 
at Albany. 

The most evident change in public sentiment was the 
address of Governor Odell before the Merchants' Exchange 
of Buffalo on October 10, 1901, in which the Governor com- 
mitted himself to canal improvement with the slight reser- 
vation as to its not being too expensive. 

The "campaign of education" was kept up by the canal 
bureau of the Merchants' Exchange, and on November 2, 
1 901, the State committee appointed by the State Commerce 
convention, consisting of President John D. Kernan of 
Utica, F. S. Gardner, G. Waldo Smith, Henry B. Hebert, 
Charles N. Chadwick, Ludwig Nissen, W. R. Corwine, 
W. F. McConnell of New York, Alfred Haines, T. S. 
Fassett and Geo. H. Raymond of Buffalo, E. M. Bucklin of 
Ithaca and Willis H. Tennant of Mayville, met in New 
York to formulate plans for the year's campaign. 

On November 21, 1901, J. D. Kernan of Utica; John 
Laughlin, Alfred Haines, Theo. S. Fassett, W. A. Rogers, 
G. H. Raymond of Buffalo; Frank Brainard, H. B. Heberl, 
Gustav H. Schwab, W. R. Corwine, and F. S. Gardner of 
New York; S. H. Beach of Rome, E. H. Bucklin of Ithaca, 
H. C. Main of Rochester and E. R. Redhead of Fulton, 
called on Governor Odell to urge upon him the importance 
of canal improvement along the lines of the 1000-ton barge 
plan. The Governor's message of January 1, 1902, further 
paved the way for the 1 000-ton barge canal by first pro- 
posing to make the locks of the present canal large enough 


for the ioco-ton barges, and the final building- of the water- 
way to fit these locks. 

On January 8, 1902, John Laughlin, Theodore S. Fassett 
and G. H. Raymond met H. B. Hebert and Frank Brainard 
of New York at Albany and in conjunction with Senator 
Henry W. Hill, T. D. Lewis and George A. Davis called on 
Governor Odell and submitted to him the resolutions passed 
by the Merchants' Exchange concurring in the Governor's 
suggestions as to the style of canal improvement to be 
undertaken. They also conferred with State Engineer Bond 
relative to a bill to embody these ideas. 

Some little opposition arose on the part of the Oswego 
and Champlain canal interests, and delayed the introduction 
of a bill along the lines suggested by Governor Odell but it 
was finally introduced January 20, 1902. 

On February it, 1902, George Clinton, John Laughlin, 
R. R. Hefford, G. H. Raymond, Knowlton Mixer, Alfred 
Haines, T. S. Fassett, M. M. Drake, George Sawyer and 
H. J. Smith of Buffalo; H. B. Hebert, F. S. Gardner, John 
D. Kernan, W. F. McConnell, Frank Brainard, G. H. 
Schwab, F. B. Thurber, W. E. Clearv, W. R. Corwine, E. 
M. Clarkson, G. K. Clark, Jr., D. M. Van Vliet, F. E. 
Hagenmyer, F. S. Witherbee and A. R. Smith of New 
York; A. S. Taggart of Cohoes; S. E. Filkins of Medina: 
A. R. Kissinger and H. A. Caswell of Rome; Chas. Dick- 
inson, G. W. Hall and G. H. Morgan of Lockport; C. N. 
Douglas, H. W. Arnold, Dexter Hunter, Fred Easton and 
W. H. Kibbee of Albany, appeared at Albany in support of 
the bill. The opposition consisted as usual of John I. Piatt, 
practically representing the New York Central Railroad, 
and E. B. Norris of the State Grange. 

Senators H. W. Hill and G. A. Davis of Buffalo and 
Assemblyman E. R. O'M alley appeared for the bill. This 
was one of the most important hearings had on canal im- 
provement in many years. 

The bill was finally reported out of the Senate committee 
carrying $31,500,000 and including in it the Champlain 
canal, but omitting the Oswego canal. In this shape it 
passed the Senate. 

FROM 1895 TO 1903. 171 

The opposition of the Oswego canal interests soon came 
to be very bitter. When the measure was reported from 
the Canals committee of the Assembly, there had been 
added the Oswego improvement, along the same lines as 
the Erie and Champlain. This completion again offered 
the anti-canal forces an opportunity to defeat canal legisla- 
tion for the session ; the result in fact was a defeat of the 
bill with Oswego in, and then it was defeated with Oswego 

The enemies of the canal were continually trying first one- 
plan and then another to block the work. Senator Ambler 
introduced a bill proposing to sell the canals. On February 
20, 1902, George Clinton and G. H. Raymond of Buffalo 
appeared before the canal committee in opposition to the 
bill and John I. Piatt and H. S. Ambler in favor. 

The bill to sell the canals was killed in the committee. 

By this time the Davis Senate canal bill was in the 
hands of the Rules committee of the Assembly and with a 
hostile majority against it in the committee its chances were 
very slim. A last effort was made to induce Governor Odell 
to get the bill from the committee, and the following com- 
mittee waited on him: G. K. Clark, Jr., Frank Brainard, 
Abel E. Biackmar, S. C. Mead, W. F. McConnell and W. 
R. Corwine of New York, Alfred Haines, H. H. Persons, 
Theo S. Fassett, G. H. Raymond and F. Howard Mason of 
Buffalo. The effort was in vain, and once more was it made 
plain that in ways that are dark but effective the railroads 
had again killed canal improvement. The efforts of Sena- 
tors Davis and Hill and Ramsperger were continued to the 
last minute to secure canal legislation, as were the efforts of" 
Assemblyman O'Malley. 

Notwithstanding these continued defeats the friends of 
the State canals would not be denied, and again were the 
ranks closed up and plans laid for the session of 1903. On 
May 14, 1902, Gustav H. Schwab, Frank S. Gardner, S. 
Christy Mead and W. R. Corwine of New York, had a con- 
ference at Buffalo with Alfred Haines, George Clinton, T. 
Guilford Smith, John Laugftlin. J. T. McWilliams, M. M 
Drake, W. C. Farrington, H. J. Smith, G. W. Hall, Capt. 


J. J. H. Brown, W. A. Rogers, Henry W. Hill, E. R. 
O'Malley, G. II. Raymond, Geo. A. Davis and George P. 
Sawyer. State Engineer Bond was also present. The 
result of this conference was a unanimous decision to con- 
tinue the fight for canal improvement and to stand stead- 
fastly for the i ooo-ton barge canal. At this conference was 
taken up the question of possibly building the canal from 
Buffalo to Olcott and then by Lake Ontario to Oswego and 
the old line from there to Albany. 

The following committee from Buffalo was appointed 
May 17, 1902, to meet the New York people at Albany at a 
later date: George Clinton, J. J. McWilliams, Major Thos. 
W. Symonds, R. R. Hefford, Alfred Haines, John Laughlin, 
John Cunnee", M. M. Drake, T. S. Fassett, George Sawyer, 
W. A. Rogers and G. H. Raymond. 

The friends of the canal decided that they had been 
modest and retiring long enough. They held that both tile 
political parties should take a position in favor of canal 
improvement and the first editorials on this subject ap- 
peared in the Buffalo papers late in July, 1902. The Buffalo 
News took an especially strong position on the matter in an 
editorial of July 31, 1902. The summer of 1902 saw a 
growing tendency on the part of politicians who had here- 
tofore thought it the proper thing to ignore the canal ques- 
tion, actually to recognize its importance. There even was 
talk on the part of some canal men that a canal party should 
be formed. This plan, however, was not looked upon fa- 
vorably by the regular fighters for canal improvement, but 
they steadily brought pressure on the two great political 
organizations that the canal question should not be ignored 
by either party. 

On September 4, 1902, President Kernan of the State 
Commerce convention appointed the following gentlemen to 
attend the Republican State convention at Saratoga in the 
interest of canal improvement: George Clinton, Buffalo, I 

chairman ; Frank Brainard, F. S. Gardner, F. S. Witherbee, 
Ludwig Nissen, B. Leroy Dresser, New York; S. E. Fil- 
kins, Medina; Willis H. Tennant, Mayville ; R. R. Hefford, 
John Laughlin, Alfred Haines, G. H. Raymond, Richard 

FROM 1895 TO 1903. 173 

Humphrey and G. P. Sawyer of Buffalo; G. W. Hall, 

On September 8, 190?, a rousing meeting was held on 
the floor of the Merchants' Exchange and ringing resolu- 
tions were adopted that set the political leaders of both 
parties to thinking. Six days later the New York canal men 
gave a dinner at Delmonico's to the New York editors, and 
the press of that city was soon taking as lively an 1 interest 
in canal improvement as was the Buffalo press. 

The Republican State convention assembled at Saratoga 
September 22d, and on the same day the delegates from the 
State Commerce convention held a meeting and appointed 
a committee to draw up suitable resolutions to present to the 
party convention. The committee consisted of R, R. 
Hefford of Buffalo, H. B. Hebert of New York, S. E. 
Filkins of Medina, W. E. Geary of New York and G. H. 
Raymond of Buffalo. The resolutions of the committee 
were presented to the convention by Senator John Laughlin. 
As usual John I. Piatt was on hand in the interests of the 
railroads to oppose any canal improvement plank. But the 
canal people would not be denied, and a plank committing 
the Republican party to canal improvement was put in the 

Similar tactics were employed at the Democratic State 
Convention held at Saratoga, October 1, 1902, and an even 
stronger canal plank was inserted in the platform of that 

At this period meetings of the canal committees of the 
Merchants' Exchange of Buffalo and the Produce Exchange 
of New York were held in their respective cities. This was 
one of the most critical points in the canal struggle. A 
strong minority of these two committees were in favor of 
committing the canal men of the State to the Democratic 
party by reason of its canal plank. The defeat of that party, 
which did occur, would have given a long check to canal 
improvement, if not for all time. However, more moderate 
opinions prevailed and under the lead of Buffalo, resolu- 
tions were passed by both of these organizations thanking 
both parties and at same time not committing canal men 


to either party. This brilliant stroke was accomplished by 
the great canal leader George Clinton, who again saved the 
canals of the. State. 

The pressure on both parties was kept up by the canai 
men and the candidates of both parties were asked to show 
their hands on the canal question. These tactics gave the 
politicians some interesting thoughts and the leaders of both 
parties in no uncertain tones affirmed that their respective 
parties were committed to canal improvement. 

After election the canal friends again began the agitation 
preparing for the winter's session of the legislature. About 
December I, 1902, the canal question was again badly 
mixed by the suggestion of Governor Odell that the Lake 
Ontario route from Olcott to Oswego should be favored. 
This made a new proposition for the canal people to fight 
and again were the enemies of the canals filled with joy 
that a new complication had arisen. All the canal interests 
united against the Lake Ontario route for the barge canal. 
On December 7, 1902, a committee from New York con- 
sisting of Gustav H. Schwab, F. S. Witherbee, Frank 
Brainard, Abel E. Blackmar and J. D. Trenor, came to 
Buffalo to consult with George Clinton, Alfred Haines, 
John Laughlin, R. R. Heflord, Geo. P. Sawyer, G. H. Ray- 
mond and Hon. Henry W. Hill, representing Buffalo. The 
result of this meeting was a renewed decision to stand for 
a 1000-ton barge canal or nothing, and a further decision 
to stand for the inside through-State route as against the 
Lake Ontario route. A meeting was held at the Merchants' 
Exchange December 8, 1902, and a committee consisting 
of George Clinton, John Laughlin, Alfred Haines, W. C. 
Warren, T. S. Fassett, G. P. Sawyer and G. H. Raymond 
were appointed to meet Governor Odell on December nth 
in a conference with the New York canal friends. The 
result of this conference with the Governor was to fill the 
canal friends with the idea of the 1000-ton barge canal or 
nothing and no Ontario route to be considered. The Gov- 
ernor was non-committal. 

At this stage Governor Odell in his annual message to 
the Legislature threw cold water again on the canal propo- 

FROM 1895 TO 1903- 175 

sitlon by adding the interest for fifty years to the cost of 
the canal and thus making enormous figures. This was 
hailed with joy hy the canal enemies, but this narrow 
juggling with figures was soon out of the way and the real 
work for the big canal began. 

On January 27, 1903, there was held a secret conference 
in Albany at which were present Gustav Schwab, H. B. 
Hebert, F. S. Gardner, Abel E. Blackmar and J. T. Trenor 
of New York; Robert Downey and J. B. McMurrich, 
Oswego; George Clinton, Alfred Haines, Major T. W. 
Syrnons, Henry W. Hill, R. R. Hefford, T. S. Fassett and 
G. K. Raymond of Buffalo. At this meeting it was decided 
to introduce a bill for the 1000-ton barge canal at a cost of 
$82,000,000 to follow generally the present route of the 
Erie canal, and to include both the Oswego and Champlain 

The canal adversaries were still active and persistent and 
at once sought to complicate the proposition by demanding 
$50,000,000 for good roads and threatening to block the 
canal plan. 

On February 3, 1903, was the first hearing on the bill for 
canals, at which George Clinton, Henry W. Hill, John 
Laughlin, Major T. W. Symons and G. H. Raymond of 
Buffalo, Gustav H. Schwab and W. E. Geary of New York, 
and F. B. Clark of Oswego, were present in its support. 
The railroads by their representative, John I. Piatt, together 
with the grangers, opposed it as usual. 

About this time all sorts of schemes were put out to stop 
the 1000-ton barge plan. A railroad in the bed of the canal 
was suggested. So was a ship canal from the St. Lawrence 
river to Lake Champlain. Another proposition was to sell 
the canal to the United States Government. And there 
were yet others. 

At the hearing on February 3, 1903, occurred a dramatic 
situation when John I. Piatt stated that Governor Odell had 
told him that he did not favor any canal legislation' this 
year, and that it was a part of the Republican party plan to 
take the same position. Later at the same hearing Mr. 
Piatt withdrew or qualified his statement and Governor 



Odell later denied what Mr. Piatt had said. This situation 
was naturally made the most of by canal friends. 

About the middle of February, 1903, a final attack was 
made on the canal bill by its enemies who sought to show 
that the eighty-two million dollar estimate was much too 
small. This gave further time to delay action until revised 
figures could be made, the idea of the canal enemies being 
not to get accurate figures but by some means to make the 
estimates so high that the people would be frightened and 
demoralized at their magnitude. 

To combat this effort a hearing was held at Albany 
February 16, 1903, at which David J. Howell of Washing- 
ton, an expert on estimates for canal work, Edward R. 
O'Malley and G. H. Raymond of Buffalo, A. E. Blackmar, 
W. F. King and E. S. Morrison of New York, were present 
in favor of the bill; the usual railroad and granger opposi- 
tion was also present. A third hearing was held February 

25, 1903. 

Early in March the State Engineer submitted an esti- 
mate that the 1000-ton barge canal would cost $101,000,000. 
This was what the canal enemies had hoped would kill the 
whole plan. The canal friends, however, were not dis- 
mayed for a moment and at once changed the bill to carry 
this great sum and kept up the fight for the passage. 

March 24, 1903, the bill was passed in the Senate after 
seven and one-half hours' debate by a vote of 32 to 14. On 
March 27th by a vote of 87 to 55, after eight and one-half 
hours' debate, the bill passed the Assembly. It was duly 
signed by Governor Odell and the great step had now been 
taken which made it possible for the people of the State to 
decide this momentous question of canal improvement. 

Early in May the campaign was formally started and the 
Canal Improvement State Committee was formed. It was 
composed of Gustav H. Schwab, H. B. Hebert, Frank S. 
Brainard, Frank S. Witherbee of New York; F. O. Clark 
of Oswego; R. R. Hefford and John W. Fishe: of Buffalo. 
John A. Stewart of New York and G. H. Raymond of 
Buffalo, were appointed secretaries. I moved my head- 
quarters from Buffalo to New York for the campaign and 

FROM 1895 TO 1903. 177 

took active charge of the literary part of the work for canal 

The canal friends were badly handicapped for funds to 
carry on the campaign, but there seemed to be no lack of 
money for the opposition, and this opposition soon made 
itself felt in no uncertain way. The New York Sun kept up 
a daily attack on the project. The opposition organized an 
anti-canal bureau in Brooklyn and hired men to distribute 
anti-canal literature. The real hotbed of the effort to 
destroy the canals and turn the commerce of the State over 
to the railroad monopoly was at Rochester, whose prosperity 
was primarily due almost entirely to the Erie canal. The 
strangest part of the Rochester opposition lay in the fact 
that the head and front of this opposition was the Chamber 
of Commerce of that city. 

An anti-canal State convention was held at which as 
usual the railroad hand was most in evidence through the 
efforts of Hon. John I. Piatt of Poughkeepsie, who was 
honest enough to admit that the New York Central Railroad 
paid his expenses. 

A literary bureau of canal opposition was also maintained 
at Rochester and every effort made to defeat the project. 
John M. Ives, secretary of the Rochester Chamber of Com- 
merce, was the active resident agent of the anti-canal forces 
of the State. All sorts of schemes were evolved to defeat 
the plan. One of the most amusing was a solemn manifesto 
issued by sixteen State senators elected from the farming 
sections of the State, warning the people against the efforts 
being put forth by New York and Buffalo to carry the 
measure. At the same time these same counties were bene- 
ficiaries from taxes paid by those two great cities to the 
extent of millions of dollars. 

In spite of many discouragements the Canal Improve- 
ment State Committee kept at work. Strong champions of 
the project sprang up and spoke in various cities and vil- 
lages, at fairs, etc., throughout the State, and none of them 
rode on railroad passes as was the case with some at least 
of the canal enemies. 


Among these champions of the canal cause whose names 
should be here chronicled, were P. W. Casler of Little 
Falls; John D. Kernan of Utica ; R. R. Hefford, H. W. 
Hill, John Laughlin, E. R. O'Malley, George Clinton, G. H. 
Raymond, Herbert P. Bissell, John Ctmneen, O. P. Letch- 
worth, Leonard Dodge, Howard J. Smith, L. P. Smith, F. 
Howard Mason, W. C. Brown, John N. Scatcherd, Thos. M. 
Ryan, M. M. Drake, J. J. H. Brown, Gen. F. V. Greene, 
Major T. W. Symons, T. S. Fassett and John Joslyn of 
Buffalo; Gustav H. Schwab, H. B. Hebert, F, S. Gardner, 
J. D. Trenor, W. F. McConnell, Erastus Wiman, Abram 
Gruber, Bird S. Coler, Thos. F. Grady, Robt. M. Campbell, 
W. E. Cleary, Chas. A. Schieren, Frank Brainard and 
Frank S. Witherbee, New York; George E. Green, Bing- 
hamton ; Willis H. Tennant, Mayville ; Charles E. Watson, 
F. B. Griffin, Clinton ; W. Pierrepont White, Utica ; J. D. 
Filkins, Medina; Gordon W. Hall, Charles Dickinson, 
Lockport; O. E. Jones, B. S. Dean, Ernest Cawcroft, 
Jamestown; J. S. Woodward, A. M. Evans, Herkimer; 
Frank S. Oakes, Cattaraugus ; Daniel Toomey, Dunkirk. 

The Canal Improvement State Committee had less than 
$15,000 for this great fight but made the best effort possible. 
Gustav H. Schwab left New York on his vacation some time 
before the close of the campaign and Chas. A. Schieren of 
Brooklyn was made chairman of the committee in his stead. 
The entrance of ex-Mayor Schieren actively into the cam- 
paign put new life into it. Greater New York, under the 
most efficient management of W. F. McConnell, was covered 
with cart-tail meetings and a million circulars were dis- 

Too much credit cannot be given to the daily press of 
Greater New York which with the glaring exception of the 
Sun, supported the 1000-ton barge canal project unani- 
mously. Every paper published in Buffalo loyally supported 
the project and to the Buffalo press should be given the 
credit of arousing the press of Greater New York. 

FROM 1895 TO 190$. 179 

The enemies of the canal were very active up to the last 
day of the campaign, and its friends, badly handicapped, 
also continued the tight. The people finally won against all 
opposition. On November 4, 1903, the 1000-ton barge 
canal proposition was carried by a majority of 245,323. 

In a chronicle of this kind it is impossible to give proper 
credit to all of those entitled to it, as each canal friend did 
his best in his own manner; but there are certain critical 
times that stand out in bold relief when it can be clearly 
shown that the right man was found at the right time to 
save the canal system of the State. 

To the Honorable George Clinton is due the credit for 
keeping the canal spirit alive when as a member of the 
Assembly he secured an appropriation for lengthening one 
lock on the Erie canal. 

To the Honorable Henry W. Hill of Buffalo is due the 
credit of saving the canals, when, after a most bitter 
struggle in the Constitutional Convention of 1894, to which 
he was a delegate, he succeeded in putting in the clause pro- 
hibiting their sale and abandonment. 

To the Honorable Thomas C. Piatt of New York is due 
the credit of saving the canals when he forced the Commit- 
tee on Rules of the Assembly in icpo-'oi to report out the 
bill appropriating $200,000 for the survey and estimates 
which finally made the 1000-ton barge canal possible. 

To the late lamented Alfred Haines of Buffalo is due 
especial credit for the final successful result of the great 
canal struggle as he, almost alone, raised the funds that 
made it possible to carry on the educational campaign which 
finally brought the barge canal plan to a successful vote- 
To the Honorable George Clinton is again due especial 
credit for his marvellous diplomacy in keeping the canal 
friends in Buffalo and New York from allying themselves 
with the Democratic party in 1902, as its defeat, which oc- 
curred, would have killed all future efforts, as the Republi- 
can leaders were not friendly to the project and would have 
been able to say that the canal people and the Democrats 
were both defeated at that election. 


To the late Honorable Timothy Ellsworth of Lockport is 
due especial credit for the brilliant coup made by him, 
assisted by the Honorable Thomas F. Grady of New York, 
when he brought the $200,000 canal survey bill of 1900 out 
of the finance committee which with the Honorable Frank 
Higgins, afterward Governor, as chairman, had a majority 
opposed to the bill. No more brilliant parliamentary battle 
was ever fought or more gallantly won than this by Senator 

Note— For fuller record of the Utica, Syracuse and Buffalo commerce con- 
ventions, see ante, pp. 12-33- 




Assistant Secretary, the Buffalo Merchants' Exchange Canal Committee. 

I had taken some interest in canal enlargement during 
the campaign for the adoption of the nine million dollar 
improvement and had made a few speeches before clubs and 
other organizations in favor of the appropriation ; but it 
was not until the spring of 1898 that I became actively iden- 
tified with the canal movement. At that time, when the 
failure of the nine million appropriation became manifest, 
I prepared for the Buffalo Evening News a number of 
articles arguing for a better canal. Mr. L. P. Smith of this 
city urged me to do this and furnished me with facts in 
regard to local traffic on the canals. The argument founded 
on these facts was widely copied and started a very active 
discussion among the newspapers of the State. The Buffalo 
Evening News defended the argument for a larger canal, 
and for a time was almost alone among the papers of the 

I continued to write for the various Buffalo papers, 
always arguing that in spite of past errors the improved 
canal was necessary and should be built. Theodore Roose- 
velt was elected Governor in 1898, and in 1899 he appointed 
his canal committee to consider the whole subject and make 
recommendations. The year 1899 was spent in study of the 
question and a report was made to the Legislature in March, 
1900. I remember the effect of that report upon Buffalo 



canal men. It literally took our breath away. While some 
of us had been, in a measure, prepared for it, yet the greatly 
increased size of canal which was recommended and the 
large cost, even as then estimated, caused many of the 
Buffalo canal men, including those most closely connected 
with the operation of the present canal, to doubt the possi- 
bility of getting the people to favor such a radical step. 

In 1899 a State Commerce convention was held in Utica 
to consider canal improvement, but as the committee was 
not yet through with its work no definite action could be 
taken. A second convention w*as called for June, 1900, and 
at that convention, which I attended as a delegate from the 
Buffalo Merchants' Exchange, the new plan was discussed 
for the first time by men from all parts of the State. While 
all, or nearly all, the delegates, favored canal enlargement, 
there was a decided division on the length to which the 
State should go. It will be remembered that the canal com- 
mittee appointed by Governor Roosevelt suggested a modi- 
fication of the old Seymour plan by which a very substantial 
increase in carrying capacity could be obtained at a mod- 
erate cost, but recommended the building of a much larger 
canal, practically a new canal, with route changed for two- 
thirds of its length. At this convention the New York City 
delegates were nearly alone in their advocacy of the larger 
plan. One notable exception was the Hon. John D. Kernan 
of Utica, the chairman of the convention. Practically all 
of the town delegates favored the old Seymour plan, be- 
cause it followed the old route and because it cost much less 
and would therefore be easier to obtain. 

At this convention the Pkiii'alo delegates under the lead- 
ership of George Clinton fought to prevent the indorsement 
of the 1000-ton barge plan. In this they were greatly aided 
by the late Senator Sloane of Oswego, who was one of the 
strongest men in the convention. The New York men were 
beaten, and the convention adjourned without indorsing the 
1000-ton barge plan, to meet again after the report of the 
State Engineer, on the cost of the different projects, was 
ready. The survey which had been ordered as one of the 
last acts of the Legislature of 1900, was then being made. 


Mr. L. P. Smith of Buffalo urged upon the Buffalo Mer- 
chants' Exchange the appointment of a special canal com- 
mittee to carry on campaign work for an enlarged canal, 
and this committee was organized in November, 1900, with 
George Clinton as chairman, George H. Raymond as secre- 
tary, and myself as assistant secretary, with the special 
duty of furnishing articles and material to newspapers. 
Subscriptions were immediately solicited, and I took an 
active part in this work, raising considerable money. I 
devoted most of my time, however, to organizing a country 
newspaper campaign. I was soon supplying about 200 
country weeklies with "plate." This was in the winter of 
1 900-1901, and in February, 1901, I went to New York, 
believing I could get the financial aid of the New York 
canal people for our work. I succeeded in getting them to 
agree to pay for all "plate" matter furnished to newspapers 
east of Syracuse. Mr. H. B. Hebert was at that time chair- 
man of the canal committee of the New York Produce 
Exchange, and it was to that committee that I stated my 
case. Just at this time, however, and before any plates had 
gone out on the new arrangement, the report of the State 
Engineer on the barge canal survey was made public. The 
greatly increased cost of the project, as shown by the 
detailed survey, staggered us all again. 

The State Commerce Convention met in March at Syra- 
cuse for its adjourned session. At that convention, as at 
the one nearly a year before, the Buffalo delegates, and 
particularly their leader, the Hon. George Clinton, put forth 
every effort to prevent a declaration for the 1000-ton barge 

A third convention was held in the summer of 1901 in 
Buffalo, during the Pan-American Exposition. By that 
time the arguments of the New York delegates had pre- 
vailed to such an extent that a resolution favoring, in gen- 
eral terms, the 1000-ton barge plan, was passed. 

During the next session of the Legislature, early in 1902, 
a bill was prepared and introduced, largely at the instance of 
Buffalo men, io carry out the Seymour plan. Hearings 
were held and some progress was made, but the sudden and 


firm opposition shown by the New York members at the 
request of the Produce Exchange and allied organizations 
of New York City, put an end to any possibility of its pas- 
sage. The New Yorkers were firm and unyielding in their 
demand for the iooo-ton barge canal. 

The message of Governor Odeil in January, 1901, was 
unique in that, in the discussion of the canal problem, 
glaring errors were made, the wrong figures having been 
tzktn by the Governor from the report of the Canal Com- 
mittee. This message caused considerable amusement as 
well as serious criticism. In the State campaign of 1902 
the parties were for the first time forced to take notice of 
the growing canal improvement issue. The Buffalo Mer- 
chants' Exchange sent men to both State conventions. The 
late John Laughlin, former State Senator, attended the 
Republican, while Theodore S. Fassett went to the Demo- 
cratic convention, and both urged upon the leaders the 
importance of putting a strong canal improvement plank in 
the platforms. The Republican convention, dominated by 
men from country districts, failed to comply, their plank 
being a mere meaningless jumble of generalities. The 
Democrats on the other hand adopted a real canal improve- 
ment plank and appealed for votes as the "Canal Party." 
Governor Odell, in his speech of acceptance, came out for 
the iooo-ton barge canal, so that the failure of the Republi- 
can convention to take an advanced position in the canal 
matter made little or no difference in the result. Governor 
Odell was reelected, and a canal bill providing for a iooo- 
ton barge canal, was prepared ; and at the end of the 
session, in April, 1903, it passed the Legislature. 

The canal men set to work at once to prepare for the 
popular election in November. A State organization was 
formed and the newspaper work was assigned to me. I 
organized it as before, supplying the country weeklies with 
"plate" and the city papers with special articles and inter- 

The question of obtaining the aid of labor unions came 
up early in the spring, even before the bill passed the 
Legislature, and all labor work was put in the hands of Mr. 


Warren C. Browne, at that time a resident of Buffalo, but 
since removed to New York. Mr. Browne was assisted by 
a special committee of which I was a member. 

The canal enlargement plan was presented to nearly 
every labor organization in the State and was generally 

An analysis of the vote shows the great aid given by 
labor. In the strongest anti-canal sections of the State a 
good minority vote was polled, wherever there were labor 

My work included the originating of arguments for 
canal enlargement, the preparation of articles, and the 
preparation and revision of speeches and addresses. I gave 
a dinner at my home some two weeks after the election, at 
which I had as guests the men who had clone the hard work 
of the campaign. Among them were the Hon. George 
Clinton, chairman of the Canal Enlargement committee of 
Buffalo; Mr. Leonard Dodge, president of the Chamber of 
Commerce ; Capt. J. J. H. Brown, an active member of the 
Canal Committee ; Mr. John R. Joslyn, associate editor of 
the Buffalo Evening News, who had led the canal fight in 
the newspapers ; Mr. Warren C. Browne, in charge of 
labor work, and Senator Henry W. Hill, the orator of the 
canal cause. 


' O. 1 t>»vc pusti) • m>»sreM* oi^Srv 
to loll of u£lf Hfhx». ©J gbxrsUy ireasa*. 
£o fun of di»ttaai tfci-.xrf vaz. \bc u-ac"— -SKJt*3^l»iAR&. 







Of the editorial staff of the Buffalo Express, and member of the Euffalo 
Historical Society. 

The part of the newspapers in the campaign for the en- 
largement of the Erie Canal consisted chiefly of reporting 
the legislative events and the public discussions which are 
described in other papers in this symposium. 

Previous to 1894 the defense of canal interests was left 
largely to the boatmen themselves. Captain "Bill" Clark 
of Constantia was the chief press agent. He wrote his name 
"Captain W. C. Clark," but it should properly go into canal 
history as "Bill/' since that was what everybody called him. 
It was Captain "Bill's" chief business in life to travel up 
and down the State, calling at the newspaper offices and 
keeping them informed on the needs of the canal from the 
boatmen's viewpoint. He haunted the Capitol during legis- 
lative sessions ; he hung around the hotels at all State con- 
ventions ; everybody laughed at him ; no one paid much 
attention to him. But there was really quite an important 
political power back of the quaint old agitator. He claimed 
to represent and, in a sense, did represent the votes of the 
boatmen. There were at that time over 4,000 canal boats 
in use. Estimating that each boat represented five voters, 
the managing politicians could easily see that here was a 
force which could not be antagonized without some danger. 

187 - Qt 


There was, of course, a great business element in the State 
supporting- the canal also, but it was the voice of the organ- 
ized boatmen which was most in evidence among the news- 
papers and politicians in those years. So the parties regu- 
larly put canal planks in. their platforms and the Legisla- 
ture usually appropriated at each session enough to enlarge 
a lock here and there or to dredge out a few shallow places, 
while the canal steadily deteriorated and canal commerce 
steadily declined. 

When the Constitutional Convention of 1894 voted $9,- 
000,000 to enlarge the canals, it was generally looked upon 
by the newspapers as a sort of grand sop to the boatmen. 
There was very little newspaper support for the proposi- 
tion outside of Buffalo. It is true a canal conference repre- 
senting general business interests had recommended the 
appropriation to the convention, but newspapers are apt to 
judge by surface indications and the canal interests which 
were most plainly in sight were the boatmen. 

The New York papers generally ignored the matter or 
opposed it. The New York Times was conspicuous in op- 
position up to the eve of election. It argued in favor of 
turning the canals over to the Federal Government for con- 
version into a ship canal. But just before election the 
Times suddenly swung back to what had been its historic 
policy and supported the appropriation. In fact the entire 
metropolis appeared to awake almost in a night to the 
importance of the project. A great mass-meeting in its 
favor was held and on election day the city gave 32,613 
majority for the appropriation, while Brooklyn gave 20,362. 

That Buffalo was the center of this canal movement, 
however, is shown by the vote of 27,469 cast by Erie county 
in favor of the appropriation to 9,654 against it. In pro- 
portion to the size of the city the Buffalo majority was much 
larger than that of either New York or Brooklyn. The 
agitation had been taken up early by the Buffalo Merchants' 
Exchange and was conducted with intelligence and enthu- 
siasm. Robert R. Hefford and George Clinton are names 
which should be mentioned in this connection, but among 
Buffalo canal men there is no one who deserves greater 


credit than Henry W. Hill. George Z. Lincoln's ''Constitu- 
tional History of New York" contains the following: 

"The most elaborate and comprehensive speech on canals in the 
convention was delivered by Henry W. Hill of Buffalo. Mr. Hill 
bad given the subject long, patient and thorough study and had, ap- 
parently, examined it from every point of view. . . . The student 
of the economic relations of canals will find here the whole subject 
so carefully considered and so clearly arranged that little need be 
sought elsewhere." 

The election of Henry W. Hill to the Assembly after the 
close of the convention, and later to the Senate, gave the 
canal men an advocate in the Legislature for whose services 
too much praise can not be spoken. 

The fact that the $9,000,000 appropriation had proved 
insufficient to accomplish its purpose was first made known 
to the public by the Buffalo Express. In a series of articles 
beginning on December 6, 1S97, it described in detail the 
manner in which the money had been expended, the amount 
of work done and the condition of the fund at the time. 
The truth of the Express's statements was soon afterward 
acknowledged by a formal order suspending canal improve- 
ment work. Governor Black appointed a commission of 
inquiry, consisting of George Clinton, Franklin Edson, 
Smith M. Weed, Darwin R. James, Frank Brainard, A. 
Foster Higgins and William McEchron. The commission 
reported that 36 per cent, of the work had been completed 
and that $15,000,000 more would be needed to finish it 
according to the plans. 

An anxious time followed. Opponents of the canals as- 
sumed that the idea of enlarging or even maintaining for 
any long period the canal system had been' killed, and were 
correspondingly elated. But the interests concerned were 
too important to let the project be dropped. Under a law of 
1898, Governor Black appointed a commission to investi- 
gate the causes of the decline of the commerce of the port 
of New York. It consisted of Charles A. Schieren, chair- 
man; Andrew H. Green, C. C. Shayne, Hugh Kelley and 
Alexander R. Smith, secretary, with Ben L. Fairchild as 


counsel. Soon after Governor Roosevelt assumed office, 
in 1899, he appointed a committee for the special purpose 
of considering the question: what should be done with the 
canals ? Its members were Francis V. Greene, chairman ; 
George E. Green, John N. Scatcherd, Major Thomas W. 
Symons, U. S. Engineers; Frank S. Witherbee, Edward 
A. Bond, State Engineer and Surveyor; John N. Partridge, 
Superintendent of Public Works, with John A. Fairlie, 
secretary. Both the commerce commission and the Roose- 
velt canal commission reported at about the same time in 
1900. Both strongly urged canal improvement. The com- 
merce commission reported that an enlarged canal was 
necessary to correct railroad discrimination against New 
York and recommended the appropriation of $15,000,000 
to complete the work in hand. The more famous Roosevelt 
commission recommended the barge canal for boats of 1,000 
tons capacity. 

The various steps taken in the Legislature, in conven- 
tions and by business organizations to bring about the adopt- 
ion of this plan do not come within the scope of this paper. 
So far as the press was concerned the canal subject re- 
mained a live one from the time of the appointment of the 
Roosevelt commission till the $101,000,000 appropriation 
had been adopted by the Legislature and approved by the 
people. The discussion did not at any time become political, 
though Democrats took what advantage they could of the 
failure of the $9,000,000 appropriation under a Republican 
administration. The division was, rather, upon geographi- 
cal lines. Most of the country papers bitterly opposed the 
appropriation. All through the Southern Tier of counties 
the opposition was strong. The.Ehnira Advertiser and the 
Binghamton Republican were leading anti-canal papers in 
that quarter. Northern New York was equally strong in 
opposition, the Watertown Times being the principal news- 
paper to voice the hostility. But, most discouraging of all, 
was the appearance of fierce opposition along the line of 
the canal, where hitherto canal sentiment had been pre- 
dominant. Syracuse and Utica both turned against the 
cause. Rochester was the chief center of the defection. 


Much of the anti-canal work in Rochester was done by 
John A. C. Wright, who proved to be a very persistent 
and energetic leader of the anti-canal forces. The Roches- 
ter Post Express and the Rochester Donocrai and Chron- 
icle were vigorous in opposition, and the Rochester Chamber 
of Commerce adopted anti-canal resolutions. The Roches- 
ter contention was that the Erie canal should be turned over 
to the United States Government and enlarged to a ship 
canal. This fascinating idea, which had always given the 
practical canal men considerable trouble, had gained some 
authority from the report of engineers employed by the 
United States Government under the deep waterways com- 
mission. The obvious answer was that the time required for 
so long a voyage would be so great that large lake or ocean 
ships would not be able to transport cargoes over the route 
so cheaply as the inexpensive barges and probably could not 
afford to use such a canal at all, since they could make 
more money in deep-water voyages. But it is always hard 
to convince the American public that the biggest thing is 
not necessarily the best, and the ship-canal delusion un- 
doubtedly cost the barge project many votes. 

The great New York dailies, as a rule, paid little atten- 
tion to canal matters, though the Sun came out in opposi- 
tion, pouring forth invective, ridicule and argument in near- 
ly every edition. The Journal of Commerce, New York's 
great business daily, however, was a tower of strength for 
canal improvement. All of the Buffalo papers worked hard 
for the appropriation. There were many individuals in the 
anti-canal territory who spoke and wrote and exerted all 
the influence they could for the canals. This was particu- 
larly true in Chautauqua county. George E. Green of 
Binghamton also afforded a conspicuous example of the 
effect of a careful study of the question. He had been ap- 
pointed to the Roosevelt commission as a representative of 
the anti-canal sentiment. He was frankly against the canals 
when he entered upon the investigation. He was a strong 
canal man when the commission's work was finished, and 
he advocated the appropriation, despite the bitter hostility 
of his constituency. 



When the vote was taken it showed sixteen counties for 
the canals, as follows: Albany, Cayuga, Erie, Essex, Kings, 
Nassau, New York, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, Queens, 
Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Ulster, Westchester. The 
details of the vote may appropriately be inserted here: 


Albany . .. 16,153 

Allegany 994 

Broome 2,401 

Cattaraugus 2,239 

Cayuga 6,140 

Chautauqua 3,u6 

Chemung 975 

Chenango 1,034 

Clinton 1,910 

Columbia 1,526 

Cortland 695 

Delaware 1,326 

Dutchess 4,099 

Erie 39451 

Essex 1,864 

Franklin 912 

Fulton 1,751 

Genesee 1,446 

Greene 1,823 

Hamilton 307 

Herkimer 4,692 

Jefferson 1,924 

Kings 62,282 

Lewis 1,020 

Livingston 761 

Madison 2,089 

Monroe 5*247 

Montgomery 3,074 

Nassau 4,393 

New York 252,608 

Niagara 8.514 

Oneida 8,401 

Onondaga 9,061 





























1 1 ,477 











* Majority for. 
** Majority against. 



Ontario 1,532 9,95* 8,419** 

Orange 5,326 8.952 3,626** 

Orleans 2,684 241 1 273* 

Oswego 7,564 5,759 1,805* 

Otsego 1,105 9,068 7,963** 

Putnam 1,096 1,552 456** 

Queens 20,945 4,3°8 16,637* 

Rensselaer 3,546 6,892 3.346** 

Richmond 8,965 1,517 7,448* 

Rockland 3,939 1,866 2,073* 

St. Lawrence 1,172 12,713 11,541** 

Saratoga 4,508 6,894 2,386** 

Schenectady 1,816 2,622 806** 

Schoharie ... 836 5,476 4,640** 

Schuyler 280 3.356 3,076** 

Seneca 907 4,687 3,780** 

Steuben 1,502 14,638 13.136** 

Suffolk 5,701 5,021 6S0* 

Sullivan 1,306 5,252 3,046** 

Tioga 374 5,579 5,205** 

Tompkins 720 5.498 4,778** 

Ulster 8,369 7,728 641* 

Warren 2,525 2,745 220** 

Washington 3,844 5,237 1,393** 

Wayne 2,473 7,691 5,218** 

Westchester 24,498 8,499 15,999* 

Wyoming 865 3,593 2,728** 

Yates 294 4,097 3,803** 

Totals 673.010 427,698 245,312* 

* Majority for. 
** Majority against. 







To the Honorable the Legislature of the State of New 
York, in Senate and Assembly convened: 

The directors of the Western Inland Navigation Com- 
pany respectfully report: 

That in the summer and fall ensuing the establishment of 
the said company by the act of March, 1792, surveys were 
made on the Mohawk river from Schenectady to Fort 
Schuyler, and on the Wood creek from that place to its 
termination on the Oneida lake. 

The object of those surveys was to ascertain what 
improvement the navigation was susceptible of, and what., 
in particular, were the greatest obstructions to the water 
transportation of the agricultural produce of the interior of 
the State. The result was an impression favorable to the 
objects of the institution, and was followed by a determina- 

I. The second report of the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company, 
printed here in fulfilment of the pledge made in the preceding volume of 
these Publications (vol. XII., Introduction, p. xii), is a rarer document than 
even the first report (New York, 1796). The first report will be found 
reprinted in volume II, Buffalo Historical Society Publications. The second 

report, signed by Philip Schuyler, Feb. 16, 1798, is in effect the official history | 

of New York's first canal project from its inception in 1792, to 1798. As 
Senator Hill has shown (XII., 72) the expense of the improvements projected 
by the Northern and Western Inland Lock Navigation Companies proved so 
great that their plans were never carried to completion, their works being 
later absorbed by the State in its larger canal enterprise. 

197 -oA' 


tion, on the part of the company, to begin operations at the 
Little Falls in Herkimer county, which created a portage 
where all boats navigating the Mohawk river, with their 
cargoes, were transported nearly one mile over land; an 
operation attended with unavoidable delay and great ex- 
pense, as well as with injury to the boats and their cargoes. 
The work was accordingly commenced in April, 1793, with 
nearly three hundred laborers, besides a competent number 
of artificers ; but its progress was arrested early in Septem- 
ber, for want of funds; many of the stockholders having 
neglected to pay the requisitions made by the directors, 
either because they had not the means to supply such 
advances, or from an apprehension of the impracticability 
of succeeding in the operation. 

In January, 1794, the work was recommenced, although 
feebly, and some progress made, in hope that the Legislature 
would afford assistance by grants or loans of money, or by 
taking unsubscribed shares. Accordingly the Legislature, 
sensible of the propriety of relieving the stockholders in 
one or other of these modes, and appreciating, with that 
discernment which has invariably characterized the Legis- 
lature of this State, the advantages the community at large 
would derive from the accomplishment of the important 
undertaking which they had encouraged individuals to 
attempt, directed a subscription, on the part of the people 
of the State, of two hundred shares. This measure was 
attended with the most salutary effects. The hopes and 
confidence of the company were revived, and the works 
recommenced in May, 1795, with a correspondent degree 
of alacrity. But the very high price of agricultural produce 
creating a most extensive demand for labor, it was found 
impossible to obtain such a number of workmen as were 
requisite to finish the works before the end of the summer, 
and it was not until the 17th of November that the canal 
and locks were so far completed as to afford a passage to 

As a description of the country through which the canal 
i^ carried, a detail of its foundation, and a delineation of 
the beneficial effects which have already been, and hereafter 


will be experienced from it, may not be uninteresting to the 
community, and in particular to the Legislature, whose 
deliberations have the interest of their constituents so con- . 
statitly in view, we beg leave to exhibit the following 
summary : 

The canal is drawn through the northern shore of the 
Mohawk river, about fifty-six miles beyond Schenectady. 
Its track is nearly parallel to the direction of the waters of 
the fall, and at a mean about forty yards therefrom. It 
is supplied with w T ater from the river above the falls, com- 
mencing in a natural basin, whose position secures the 
guard lock (which is placed at the extremity of the canal) 
from any injuries which might be apprehended to arise 
from ice or driftwood in times of freshets. From the basin, 
extending in an oblique direction across the stream to the 
opposite shore, a dam has bten thrown, which, by creating 
an additional depth of water of twelve inches, saved the 
great expense which would have attended the excavation of 
the canal through the solid rock to procure the same depth 
of water, and has also materially improved the navigation 
of the river for a considerable distance upwards. 

The length of the canal is four thousand seven hundred 
and fifty-two feet, in which distance the aggregate fall is 
forty-four feet seven inches. Five locks, having each nearly 
nine feet lift, are placed towards the low T er end of the canal; 
and the pits in which they are placed have been excavated 
out of solid rock of the hardest kind. The chamber of each 
lock is an area of seventy-four feet by twelve in the clear ; 
and boats drawing three feet of water may enter it at all 
times. The depth of water in all the extent of the canal is 
various, but not less than three feet in any place. A waste 
wear [weir] is constructed to discharge the surplus water 
entering the canal, from two small rivulets which intersect 
its course. 

About two thousand five hundred and fifty feet of the 
canal is cut through solid granite rock, and when the level 
struck above the natural surface of the earth, or rather 
rock, strong and well-constructed walls were erected sup- 
ported by heavy embankments of earth, to confine the earth 


and keep the level ; hence, there is no other current in the 
canal than an almost imperceptible one when the paddles of 
the locks are raised. Three handsome and substantial 
bridges are thrown over the canal, at so many roads which 
have been intersected by it. 

The following state of facts will evince the beneficial 
influence this important work has had on the transportation 
to market of the produce of the country beyond the falls ; 
and on the return of the necessary supplies for the con- 
sumption of our useful, hardy husbandmen in that quarter, 
employed in reducing a wilderness to smiling fields, pro- 
moting their own happiness, and the commerce and respect- 
ability of the State. 

The falls, previous to the improvements above stated, 
being impassable, even for empty water craft, these, with 
all their cargoes were transported by land, over a road as 
rough, rocky, and bad as the imagination can conceive; of 
necessity, therefore, the boats were of such a construction 
as might be transported on a wheel carriage, consequently 
of little burthen, seldom exceeding a ton and a half; each 
boat was navigated by three men; and a voyage from 
Schenectady to Fort Schuyler, a distance of one hundred 
and twelve miles, and back to the former place, was seldom 
made in less than nine days. Thus, the transportation of a 
ton of produce, if no back freight offered, was equivalent 
to one man's wages for eighteen days. 

The canal and locks will admit the passage of boats of 
thirty tons burthen with facility; but impediments in the 
river, still to be removed, between Schenectady and the 
Little Falls, prevent: the use of boats of more burthen than 
ten or eleven tons ; each of these is navigated by five men, 
and make the same voyage in fourteen days, which is at 
the rate of seven days' wages of one man for one ton. But 
until the improvements shall be completed, which are con- 
templated to be made in the river above and below the falls, 
these boats, when the water in the river is at its lowest 
state, which is usually from the middle of July to the end 
of September, can only convey about five or six tons during 
that period ; then the transportation of a ton between the 


places aforesaid is equal to the wages of one man for four- 
teen days, affording- still an important saving, exclusive of 
that which arises from the speedy passage of the boats 
through the canal and locks ; the whole time taken up to 
pass through both not exceeding three quarters of an hour ; 
but transported as heretofore, by land, caused a detention 
at least of one day, and frequently of a longer time. 

Early in the spring of 1796, the directors commenced 
their operations at Fort Schuyler. Their object was to 
effect a junction of. the waters of the Mohawk with those 
of Wood creek, bymeans of a canal between the respective 
landing-places. The difficulty of procuring laborers, from 
the existence of the causes before mentioned, prevented the 
completion of the work that season ; but during the winter 
of 1796 and 1797 the necessary arrangements having been 
made, a sufficient number of men were obtained, who 
recommenced the work in April last; and, although there 
was a considerable extension of the original plan, yet the 
whole was opened for the passage of boats on the 3d of 
October. As the beneficial consequences resulting on these 
improvements extend much further than the mere removal 
of the portage, it may not be improper to enter into a 
detailed account of the former and the present modes of 

Previous to the completion of the canal, the commerce of 
the western parts of the State was carried on by means of 
the batteaux before described, carrying, on the average, one 
ton and a half. On their arrival at the landing-place, the 
boat was unladen, hauled out of the water, and conveyed, 
together with the cargo, on wagons across the carrying- 
place, to Wood creek, where, if it happened that there was 
a sufficiency of water, the cargo was taken on board again, 
and the boat, aided by a flush from a mill-dam, descended 
the creek to the Oneida lake; but if the water was low 
(which was generally the case from the beginning of June 
to October), the lading was conveyed five miles further to 
Canada creek, along a road scarcely passable. The delay 
and consequent expense at this season was very great; the 
difficulty of ascending was still greater; the boat was 



unladen at Canada creek, and', as the state of the road would 
not admit of its conveyance by land, oxen were applied, and 
by main strength dragged it along the bed of the creek, to 
the great detriment and injury of the boat. 

On the most moderate calculation it may be affirmed 
that the delay in passing over the carrying-place was, on an 
average, one day, and frequently much more ; while at 
present the boats, with a greater quantity of goods on board, 
and without sustaining the smallest injury, pass over the 
same space in three hours, and the remainder of the voyage 
to the Oneida lake is much facilitated and expedited by 
means of the additional quantity of water which is thrown 
frito the creek. Formerly it was the stated custom to collect 
the waters of Wood creek in the mill, dam during the night, 
and early in the morning to discharge the same, which 
creating a temporary flush, such boats as were in readiness 
availed 1 themselves thereof. But if they arrived a few 
minutes after the discharge, they were detained until the 
following morning, whereas at present the regulations are 
such that the time of arrival is immaterial, and the voyage 
is continued without interruption or delay. 

The length of the canal from the Mohawk to Wood creek 
is two miles and three chains, one-third of which distance 
is cut through a gravelly hill from twelve to eighteen feet 
in depth. The width' is thirty-seven and a half feet, and 
boats drawing three and a half feet of water may pass 
freely along it. 

A lateral branch is cut from the canal to the Mohawk 
river, upwards of five hundred yards in length, and from 
ten to twelve feet deep; by means of this feeder any quan- 
tity of water can be taken into the canal and discharged 
into Wood creek or the Mohawk, as circumstances may 
require. To regulate the supply, and to prevent the works 
being injured by the freshets, a large regulating waste wear 
[weir] is constructed across the feeder; another of a similar 
form is erected near Fort Newport, for the purpose of fur- 
nishing the necessary supplies of water to Wood creek ; and 
it is found by experience that these devices fully answer the 
most sanguine expectations, as now Wood creek is rendered 


at least equal to any part of the navigation between thence 
and Schenectady. There is a lock at each extremity of the 
canal, the one of ten feet lift, and the other of eight feet. 
Five handsome and substantial bridges are constructed over 
the canal and feeder. 

Wood creek has been considerably improved by cutting 
through several isthmuses so as to shorten the distance near 
seven miles, and also by the removal of the timber, which 
had fallen into it in such quantities as almost altogether to 
obstruct the navigation. 

The channel of the Mohawk below Fort Schuyler being 
in the same situation, a party of men were employed the 
last summer in removing these obstacles, and considerable 
progress was made therein. The most difficult part is 
cleared, extending from the canal to Six Mile creek; the 
remaining part from the last-mentioned place to the German 
Flats will be finished the present year. At the German 
Flats a canal has been commenced for the purpose of avoid- 
ing two bad rapids, known commonly by the names of 
Wolf's and Orend'orff's rifts; the cutting is nearly com- 
pleted, and the whole will be so far advanced as to admit 
the passage of boats in a few months. At the w T est end a 
guard lock will be placed, similar in form, and for the same 
purpose as that at the Little Falls, before described. At the 
east end the boats will pass through another lock of twelve 
feet fall into very good water which continues to the canal 
at the falls, a distance of nearly five miles. Above the guard 
lock, and at the head of Wolf rift, a dam will be thrown 
across the Mohawk, so as to raise the water thereof three 
feet, which will materially improve the navigation above, by 
affording a sufficient depth of water over the shallows oppo- 
site to Aldridge's and Fort Flerkimer. 

The next object to which the directors mean to bend 
their attention, is the clearing the bed of the river below 
the Little Falls, from the rocks, stones, sandbars, and other 
obstacles, which at present so greatly interrupt the naviga- 
tion. The work commenced late last season, and consider- 
able progress was made in blowing up the large massy 
rocks, which rendered the passage of the Haycock rapid so 


dangerous. The work will be resumed as soon as the 
waters subside, and will progress regularly downwards. 

The directors, aware of the difficulty of improving 
effectually the river from Schoharie to Schenectady, di- 
rected their engineer to survey the southern shore to deter- 
mine the most eligible route for a canal, and to make an 
estimate of the expense that would attend the execution; 
and, as an opinion had been entertained that the line might 
be extended to Albany by preserving the level from 
Schoharie creek to the vicinity of Schenectady (which it 
was imagined was sufficiently elevated to surmount the 
intermediate ground between the two places), the directors, 
always willing to promote every object that has in view the 
public good, further directed their engineer to ascertain the 
practicability of the measure. From his report it appears 
that the summit ground between Albany and Schenectady 
is elevated one hundred and forty-five feet above the sur- 
face of the Mohawk at Claus Veele's, three miles above the 
last-mentioned place; and that the rise from thence to 
Schoharie is only seventy-one feet; consequently the depth 
to be cut through for some miles would have been nearly 
seventy-four feet, which sufficiently proves the impractica- 
bility of the plan. If even the level from Schoharie creek 
could be kept, which, on account of rocky mountains and 
deep ravines would be next to impossible, and 1 although a 
canal may be drawn along the southern shore of the 
Mohawk from Schoharie to Schenectady, yet from the 
length of the line, and the nature of the ground it must 
pass through, the expense of execution would" be so great, 
that the directors are of opinion that the present trade of 
the country would not warrant their undertaking a work of 
such magnitude. They have, therefore, determined to con- 
fine their operations to the bed of the river, and to make 
such improvements therein as it is susceptible of. 

With respect to the improvements to the westward of 
Fort Schuyler, the directors beg leave to observe, that from 
the outlet of the Oneida lake to the south end of the Cayuga 
lake, nature has done so much that little is left for art to 
accomplish. The few obstructions necessary to be removed 


may be effected in the course of one summer, and at a very 
moderate expense; which, when completed, would form a 
navigation from. Schenectady westward of near two hun- 
dred and eighty miles in extent, and through a tract of 
country, perhaps, on the whole, unrivalled in point of fer- 
tility. The immense advantages that must result from the 
accomplishment of this great object, both to the western 
and southern parts of the State, are too striking to escape 
the attention of a mind the least informed. 

The communication with Lake Ontario by the Onondaga 
river, although at present so eligible as to need little 
improvement as far as the falls (twelve miles from Lake 
Ontario) is from thence to the lake so interrupted by an 
almost continued series of rapids, and the adjacent shores 
being high, steep, and chiefly of solid rock, will render the 
cutting of a canal on the adjacent shore absolutely imprac- 
ticable. The only mode will therefore be improvements in 
the bed of the river by means of dams and locks, unless 
some more eligible route can be discovered for a communi- 
cation between the Lakes Oneida and Ontario; and it has 
been suggested that the country intermediate between 
Rotterdam on Lake Oneida, and that part of Lake Ontario 
where Salmon river falls into it, is such that a canal may 
be drawn across. The sources of two rivulets, which dis- 
charge themselves in different directions into the respective 
bkes at the above-mentioned places, are very near to each 
other; if, on examination, it should appear that when 
united they are sufficiently copious to supply the summit 
level, and the ground should prove favorable, there can be 
little doubt but it would be the most eligible line of com- 
munication. If the harbor at the mouth of Salmon river is 
equally good with that at Oswego for vessels navigating 
the lake, the length would not probably exceed eighteen 
miles, which is thirty miles shorter than by the Onondaga 
river. It is not possible to form any idea of the lockage on 
either route until an actual survey has been made; which 
it is the intention of the directors to cause to be done the 
first convenient opportunity. 


The directors would beg leave further to represent to the 
Legislature that some alterations and amendments to the 
existing laws in respect to the said company have become 
necessary or expedient. 

From the preceding statement of the exertions of the 
company, and the progress they have made, it must be 
obvious that no unnecessary delay is to be imputed to them ; 
and they therefore respectfully solicit an extension of the 
term of five years, allowed by the act of the 30th March, 
1792, for completing the navigation between Schenectady 
and the Wood creek to the further term of five years, to be 
computed from the 1st day of January last. 

Large sums of money have already been expended by 
the company in removing trees out of the bed of the river 
Mohawk and Wood creek, which had either accidentally 
fallen therein from its banks or were intentionally cut down 
and drawn therein for the purpose of clearing the adjacent 
ground; of the latter an immense number have been 
brought into the river subsequent to the commencement of 
the operations for removing those there out, which had 
previously obstructed the navigation. To remedy this incon- 
venience in future, the directors respectfully represent that 
it would conduce to the attainment of the beneficial ends 
of the establishment if such further legislative provision 
was made in the premises as would enable them or their 
agents to cut down the trees on the banks of the Mohawk, 
Wood creek, the other streams through which their im- 
provement may be carried to the distance of two perches 
from the banks ; and to draw and lay upon the shores such 
of the water-soaked timber, which, when raised from the 
bed of those streams, will not float down the same; and 
either to burn or preserve the timber so cut down or taken 
out for the use of the respective proprietors of the soil 
where the same is cut or laid at the option of the latter. 

The directors have also found by experience that the 
mode pointed out by the seventh section of the same act, for 
ascertaining the value of lands to be taken by the company 
for the necessary accomplishment of their works, is in some 
respects extremely injurious and expensive, and that justice 


requires some amelioration of its provisions. One instance 
has occurred in which the jury assessed the damages of the 
individual at one dollar, and the costs incurred by the com- 
pany were three hundred and seventy-five dollars. They 
would, therefore, respectfully submit to the Legislature the 
propriety of altering the law in such a manner that the 
process for ascertaining the damages, when the parties can- 
not agree, may be more expeditious, less expensive, and 
equally just in its effects. And the directors respectfully 
submit, whether a provision similar to that instituted for 
ascertaining the damages to be paid by the corporation of 
the city of Albany in prosecuting the works requisite to 
supply the said city with water would not be an eligible 

The company have expended in improving the bed of the 
Mohawk, in straightening and improving Wood creek, in 
completing the locks and canals at Fort Schuyler, the canal 
and locks at the Little Falls, and upon the canal at the 
German Flats, about $209,357. 

The directors apprehend the expenditures this year will 
cost about $50,000. 

The requisitions on the stockholders for the year past 
have not been sufficient to defray all the expenses which 
have accrued, and the directors have been under the neces- 
sity of borrowing $39,950; besides which sum, they are 
indebted to the State $37,500. 

About one hundred and fifty shares remain on hand, as 
forfeited by former stockholders, or unsubscribed, and 
considering how deeply interested the State at large is in the 
success of so extensive a plan of inland navigation, the 
directors apprehend the Legislature would be induced to 
take the aforesaid shares at the same rate as the shares are 
held by the present stockholders. The sum required will 
be sixty pounds each share, and subject to the future 
requisition of the directors. This proposal being acceded to 
by the Legislature, the directors will be enabled to prosecute 
the works with vigor; but should it be rejected, they appre- 
hend the money that may be required will be difficult to be 
raised from the stockholders, and in consequence further 


operations arrested for the present year, whereby the minds 
of the public and individuals will be much discouraged. 

It would be proper to state to the Legislature that the 
tolls received in 1797 at the Little Falls was $2,871.49, and 
that after this year the directors expect to receive at that 
place for tolls $6,000, on account of the canal and locks at 
German Flats, and improvements made in the river; and 
the canal at Fort Schuyler they expect will produce $4,000. 
That, on the whole, they hope, after the present year, the 
company will be enabled to make a dividend of four per 
cent, on their capital. 

The directors, in justice to their engineer, beg leave to 
remark that they have the greatest confidence in his abili- 
ties, and as a person of such singular qualifications is ex- 
ceedingly difficult to be obtained, the directors are fearful 
that if the work should be arrested for want of funds, they 
may lose the opportunity of availing themselves of his 
services; a loss they cannot calculate, as years may elapse 
before, if ever, they may be able to procure a person pos- 
sessed of such handsome qualifications. 

Complaints have prevailed that the toll established for the 
passage of boats and their cargoes through the canal con- 
necting the waters of the Mohawk with Wood creek was 
extravagantly high ; the directors have therefore deemed it 
necessary to subjoin to this report a statement comparing 
the present with the former expense of transportation over 
the carrying place at Fort Schuyler, with some observa- 
tions pertinent to the subject. 

By order of the Board of Directors of the 16th of 
February, 1798. 

Ph. Schuyler, President. 1 




OF 1816 



Memorial of the Citizens of New York, in Favour of 
a Canal Navigation between the Great West- 
ern Lakes and the Tide-waters of the Hudson. 

To the Legislature of the State of New-York: 

The memorial of the subscribers, in favour of a canal 
navigation between the great western lakes and the tide- 
waters of the Hudson, most respectfully represents : 

That they approach the Legislature with a solicitude 
proportioned to the importance of this great undertaking, 
and with a confidence founded on the enlightened public 
spirit of the constituted authorities. If, in presenting the 
various considerations which have induced them to make 
this appeal, they should occupy more time than is usual 
on common occasions, they must stand justified by the 
importance of the object. Connected as it is with the 
essential interests of our country, and calculated in its com- 
mencement to reflect honour on the State, and in its com- 

i. In volume XII of these Publications, page 86, note is made of the 
Memorial of the citizens of New York State addressed to the Legislature. It 
may well be called the most important document in the early history of the 
State canals, if not, indeed, in all the canal history. As Senator Hill says, 
it is "worthy .of perusal by this and subsequent generations." Drafted by 
DeWitt Clinton and signed by many citizens of the State, it made a deep 
impression on the Legislature to which it was submitted Feb. 16, 18 16. 
There can be little doubt that it was this Memorial which committed New 
York State to its great canal policy. 

In Buffalo the Memorial was first printed in the Gazette of February 6, 
1816. The same issue of the Gazette contained the following notice: 

"County Meeting — The inhabitants of the County of Niagara are hereby 
notified that a meeting will be held at the house of G. Kibbee's in the 

211 - «/<£* 


pietion to exalt it to an elevation of unparalleled prosperity, 
your memorialists are fully persuaded that centuries may 
pass away before a subject is again presented so worthy 
of all your attention, and so deserving of all your patronage 
and support. 

The improvement of the means of intercourse between 
different parts of the same country has always been con- 
sidered the first duty and the noblest employment of Gov- 
ernment. If it be important that the inhabitants of the 
same country should be bound together by a community of 
interests, and a reciprocation of benefits ; that agriculture 
should find a sale for its productions ; manufacturers a vent 
for their fabrics ; and commerce a market for its commo- 
dities: it is your incumbent duty to open, facilitate, and 
improve internal navigation. The preeminent advantages 
of canals have been established by the unerring test of 
experience. They unite cheapness, celerity, and safety, in 
the transportation of commodities. It is calculated that the 
expense of transporting on a canal amounts to one cent a 
ton per mile, or one dollar a ton for one hundred miles ; 
while the usual cost by land conveyance is one dollar and 
sixty cents per hundredweight, or thirty-two dollars a ton 
for the same distance. The celerity and certainty of this 

Tillage of Buffalo on Thursday the 15th inst, at 4 p. m., for the purpose of 
considering the subject of internal navigation. February 5." 

Of this meeting, which was apparently the first organized movement in 
Buffalo in behalf of canal improvement, no report is known to exist. The j 

Gazette may have contained a report, but no copy of the Gazette after Feb- 
ruary 6th is known to exist until the issue of February 2?tb. In the issue 
for that date is printed "The petition of the inhabitants of the County of 
Niagara" to the Legislature, setting forth their views on the subject of the 
Memorial. This petition was evidently the formal result of the meeting at 
G. Kibbee's [?Kibbe's] and may be considered the first official expression of 
Buffalo's citizens in the canal matter. It fills about one column of the old 
newspaper. A brief extract or two will sufficiently indicate its character : 

"We are prompted," say the petitioners, "as well by considerations of 
public utility as of individual prosperity, to unite our voice with that which 

has gone forth from almost every part of the community We 

believe that the best interests of the State require that the contemplated canal 
should run as direct as possible from Lake Erie to the Hudson. Much has 
been said of locking the Falls of Niagara, but we are persuaded that if this 
project could be effected it would be the means of pouring into the markets 


mode of transportation are evident. A loaded boat can be 
towed by one or two horses at the rate of thirty miles a 
day. Hence, the seller or buyer can calculate with suffi- 
cient precision on his sales or purchases, the period of their 
arrival, the amount of their avails, and the extent of their 
value. A vessel on a canal is independent of winds, tides, 
and currents, and is not exposed to the delays attending 
conveyances by land; and with regard to safety, there can 
be no competition. The injuries to which commodities are 
exposed when transported by land, and the dangers to 
which they are liable when conveyed by natural waters, 
are rarely experienced on canals. In the latter way, com- 
paratively speaking, no waste is incurred, no risk is en- 
countered, and no insurance required. Hence, it follows, 
that canals operate upon the general interests of society, 
in the same way that machines for saving labour do in 
manufactures; they enable the farmer, the mechanic, and 
the merchant, to convey their commodities to market, and 
to receive a return, at least thirty times cheaper than by 
roads. As to all the purposes of beneficial communication, 
they diminish the distance between places, and therefore 
encourage the cultivation of the most extensive and remote 
parts of the country. They create new sources of internal 

of the Canadas the surplus products of nearly the whole western country and 

of depriving our own cities of the vast benefits of the western trade 

We believe that the contemplated canal would ultimately increase the wealth 

and power of the State almost beyond the reach of calculation. That it 

would have a tendency greatly to strengthen the most important frontier of 

the State, the frontier on which we live, there can hardly be a doubt. This 

country being at one extremity of the canal, would, we conceive, become a 

point where great wealth and a numerous population would natura'ly con- 
centrate. It would of course present a powerful barrier to our neighbors on 

the opposite shore of the Niagara should we at any future period be in- 
volved in a war with their parent country. 

"The melancholy experience of the late war has effectually taught us that 

our hopes of security must rest upon strength. The safety of the interior of 

any State or nation depends in a great measure upon the capability of its 

frontiers to resist and repeal aggression." 


This petition is dated "Niagara County, 22 February, 1816, " the date 

suggesting that the citizens of Buffalo in that year marked Washington's 
birthday by a canal meeting which authorized this petition, but of which 
no detailed report is known to exist, nor are the names of the citizens who 
may have signed it appended to it as printed in the Gazttie. 



trade, and augment the old channels ; for the more cheap 
the transportation, the more expanded will be its operation ; 
and the greater the mass of the products of the country lor 
sale, the greater will be the commercial exchange of return- 
ing merchandize, and the greater the encouragement to man- 
ufacturers, by the increased economy and comfort of living, 
together with the cheapness and abundance of raw ma- 
terials ; and canals are consequently advantageous to towns 
and villages, by destroying the monopoly of the adjacent 
country, and advantageous to the whole country; for 
though some rival commodities may be introduced into the 
old markets, yet many markets will be opened by increas- 
ing population, enlarging old and erecting new towns, aug- 
menting individual and aggregate wealth, and extending 
foreign commerce. 

The prosperity of ancient Egypt, and China, in a great 
degree may be attributed to their inland navigation. With 
little foreign commerce, the former of those countries, by 
these means, attained, and the latter possesses a population 
and opulence in proportion to their extent, unequalled in 
any other. And England and Holland, the most commer- 
cial nations of modern times, deprived of their canals, 
would lose the most prolific source of their prosperity and 
greatness. Inland navigation is in fact to the same com- 
munity what exterior navigation is to the great family of 
mankind. As the ocean connects the nations of the earth 
by the ties of commerce and the benefits of communication, 
so do lakes, rivers and canals operate upon the inhabitants 
of the same country; and it has been well observed that, 
"were we to make the supposition of two states, the one 
having all its cities, towns and villages upon navigable 
rivers and canals, and having an easy communication with 
each other ; the other possessing the common conveyance 
of land carriage, and supposing both states to be equal as 
to soil, climate, and industry: commodities and manufac- 
tures in the former State might be furnished 30 per cent. 
cheaper than in the latter; or, in other words, the first 
State would be a third richer and more affluent than the 


The general arguments in favour of inland navigation 
apply with peculiar force to the United States, and most 
emphatically to this State. A geographical view of the 
country will at once demonstrate the unexampled prosperity 
that will arise from our cultivating the advantages which 
nature has dispensed with so liberal a hand. A great chain 
of mountains passes through the United States, and divides 
them into eastern and western America. In various places, 
rivers break through these mountains, and are finally dis- 
charged into the ocean. To the west there is a collection 
of inland lakes, exceeding in its aggregate extent some of 
the most celebrated seas of the old world. Atlantic Amer- 
ica, on account of the priority of its settlement, its vicinity 
to the ocean, and its favourable position for commerce, has 
many advantages. The western country, however, has a 
decided superiority in the fertility of its soil, the benignity 
of its climate, and the extent of its territory. To connect 
these great sections by inland navigation, to unite our Med- 
iterranean seas with the ocean, is evidently an object of the 
first importance to the general prosperity. Nature has 
effected this in some measure; the St. Lawrence emanates 
from the lakes, and discharges itself into the ocean in a 
foreign territory. Some of the streams which flow into 
the Mississippi originate near the Great Lakes, and pass 
round the chain of mountains. Some of the waters of this 
State which pass into Lake Ontario approach the Mohawk ; 
but our Hudson has decided advantages. It affords a tide 
navigation for vessels of eighty tons to Albany and Troy, 
160 miles above New York, and this peculiarity distin- 
guishes it from at] the other bays and rivers in the United 
States, etc. 

The tide in no other ascends higher than the Granite 
Ridge, or within thirty miles of the Blue Ridge, or eastern 
chain of mountains. In the Hudson it breaks through the 
Blue Ridge, and ascends above the eastern termination of 
the Catskill, or great western chain ; and there are no inter- 
posing mountains to prevent a communication between it 
and the Great Western Lakes. 


The importance of the Hudson River to the old settled 
parts of this State may be observed in the immense wealth 
which fe daily borne on its waters, in the flourishing villages 
and cities on its banks, and in the opulence and prosperity 
of all the country connected with it, either remotely or 
immediately. It may also be readily conceived, if we only 
suppose that by some awful physical calamity, some over- 
whelming convulsion of nature, this great river was ex- 
hausted of its waters ; where then would be the abundance 
of our markets, the prosperity of our farmers, the wealth 
of our merchants? Our villages would become deserted, 
our flourishing cities would be converted into masses of 
mouldering ruins, and this State would be precipitated 1 into 
poverty and insignificance. If a river or natural canal, 
navigable about 170 miles, has been productive of such sig- 
nal benefits, what blessings might not be expected if it were 
extended through the most fertile country in the universe, 
and united with the great seas of the West! 

The contemplated canal would be this extension ; and 
viewed in reference only to the productions and consump- 
tions of the State, would perhaps convey more riches on its 
waters than any other canal in the world. Connected with 
the Hudson, it might be considered as a navigable stream 
that extends 450 miles through a fruitful country, embrac- 
ing a great population, and abounding with all the produc- 
tions of industry. If we were to suppose all the rivers and 
canals in England and Wales, combined into one, and dis- 
charging into the ocean at a great city, after passing 
through the heart of that country, then we can form a dis- 
tinct idea of the importance of the projected canal; but it 
indeed comprehends within its influence a greater extent of 
territory, which will in time embrace a greater population. 
If this w r ork be so important when we confine our views to 
the State alone, how unspeakably beneficial must it appear, 
when we extend our contemplations to the Great Lakes, and 
the country affiliated with them? Waters extending 2,000 
miles from the beginning of the canal, and a country con- 
taining more territory than all Great Britain and Ireland, 
and at least as much as France! 


While we do not pretend that all the trade of our west- 
ern world will centre in any given place, nor would it be 
desirable if it were practicable, because we sincerely wish 
the prosperity of all the states; yet we contend that our 
natural advantages are s'd" transcendant, that It is in our 
power to obtain the greater part, and put successful com- 
petition at defiance. As all the other communications are 
impeded by mountains, the only formidable rivals of New 
York, for this great prize, are New Orleans and Montreal, 
the former relying on the Mississippi and the latter on the 
St. Lawrence. 

In considering this subject, we will suppose the com- 
mencement of the canal somewhere near the outlet of Lake 

The inducements for preferring one market to another, 
involve a variety of considerations : the principal are the 
cheapness and facility of transportation, and the goodness 
of the market. If a cultivator or manufacturer can convey 
his commodities with the same ease and expedition to New 
York, and obtain a higher price for them than at Montreal 
or New Orleans, and at the same time supply himself at a 
cheaper rate with such articles as he may want in return, 
he will undoubtedly prefer New York. It ought also to be 
distinctly understood that a difference in price may be 
equalized by a difference in the expense of conveyance, and 
that the vicinity of the market is at all times a considera- 
tion of great importance. 

From Buffalo, at or near the supposed commencement 
of the canal, it is 450 miles to the city of New York, and 
from that city to the ocean twenty miles. From Buffalo to 
Montreal, 350 miles ; from Montreal to the chops of the St. 
Lawrence, 450. From Buffalo to New Orleans by the 
Great Lakes, and the Illinois River, 2,250 miles ; from New 
Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico, 100. Hence, the distance 
from Buffalo to the ocean, by the way of New York, is 470 
miles; by Montreal, 800; and by New Orleans, 2,350. 

As the Upper Lakes have no important outlet but into 
Lake Erie, we are warranted in saying that all their trade 
must be auxiliary to its trade, and that a favourable com- 


munication by water from Buffalo will render New York 
the great depot and warehouse of the western world. 

In order, however, to obviate all objections that may be 
raised against the place of comparison, let us take three 
other positions : Chicago, near the southwest end of Lake 
Michigan, and of a creek of that name, which sometimes 
communicates with the Illinois, the nearest river from the 
Lakes to the Mississippi ; Detroit, on the river of that name, 
between Lakes St. Clair and Erie; and Pittsburgh, at the 
confluence of the Alleghany and Monongahela rivers, 
forming the head of the Ohio, and communicating with Le 
Boeuf by water, which is distant fifteen miles from Lake 

The distance from Chicago to the ocean, by New York, 
is about 1,200 miles. From Detroit to the ocean, pursuing 
the nearest route by Cleveland, down the Muskingum, 
2,400 miles. The distance from Pittsburgh to the ocean, 
by Le Boeuf, Lake Erie, Buffalo, and New York, is 700 
miles. The same to the ocean by the Ohio and Missis- 
sippi, 2,150 miles. 

These different comparative views show that New York 
has, in every instance, a decided advantage over her great 
rivals. In other essential respects, the scale preponderates 
equally in her favour. Supposing a perfect equality of 
advantages as to the navigation of the Lakes, yet from 
Buffalo, as the point of departure, there is no comparison 
of benefits. From that place the voyager to Montreal has 
to encounter the inconveniences of a portage at the cataract 
of Niagara, to load and unload at least three times, to brave 
the tempests of Lake Ontario and the rapids of the Si". 

In like manner the voyager to New Orleans has a port- 
age between the Chicago and Illinois, an inconvenient nav- 
igation on the latter stream, besides the well-known obsta- 
cles and hazards of the Mississippi. And until the invention 
of steamboats, an ascending navigation was considered 
almost impracticable. This convenience is, however, still 
forcibly experienced on that river, as well as on the St. 
Lawrence, between Montreal and Lake Ontario. 


The navigation from Lake Erie to Albany can be com- 
pleted in ten days with perfect safety on the canal; and 
from Albany to New York there, is the best sloop naviga- 
tion in the world. 

From Buffalo to Albany a ton of commodities could be 
conveyed, on the intended canal, for $3.00, and from Al- 
bany to New York, according- to the present prices of sloop 
transportation, for $2.80, and the return cargoes would be 
the same. 

We have not sufficient data upon which to predicate very 
accurate estimates with regard to Montreal and New 
Orleans; but we have no hesitation in saying that the 
descending conveyance to the former would be four times 
the expense, and to the latter at least ten times, and that 
the cost of the ascending transportation would be greatly 

It has been stated by several of the most respectable 
citizens of Ohio that the present expense of transportation 
■by water from the city of New York to Sandusky, including 
the carrying places, is $4.50 per hundred, and allowing it 
to cost $2.00 per hundred for transportation to Clinton, the 
geographical centre of the State, the whole expense would 
bt $6.50, which is only 50 cents more than the transportation 
from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, and at least $2.50 less 
than the transportation by land and water from these 
places; and that, in their opinion, New York is the natural 
emporium of that trade, and that the whole commercial 
intercourse of the western country north of the Ohio will 
be secured to her by the contemplated canal. 

In addition to this, it may be stated that the St. Law- 
rence is generally locked tip by ice seven months in the 
year, during which time produce lies a dead weight on the 
hands of the owner; that the navigation from New York 
to the ocean is at all times easy, and seldom obstructed by 
ice, and that the passage from the Balize to New Orleans 
is tedious ; that perhaps one out of five of the western 
boatmen who descend the Mississippi become victims to 
disease ; and that many important articles of western pro- 
duction are injured or destroyed by the climate. New York 


is, therefore, placed in a happy medium between the insalu- 
brious heat of the Mississippi and the severe cold of the St. 
Lawrence. She has also preeminent advantages as to the 
goodness and extensiveness of her market. All the pro- 
ductions of the soil, and the fabrics of art, can command 
an adequate price, and foreign commodities can generally 
be procured at a lower rate. The trade of the Mississippi 
is already in the hands of her merchants, and although 
accidental and transient causes may have concurred to give 
Montreal an ascendency in some points, yet the superiority 
of New York is founded in nature, and if improved by the 
wisdom of Government, must always soar above competi- 

Granting, however, that the rivals of New York will 
command a considerable portion of the western trade, yet 
it must be obvious, from these united considerations, that 
she will engross more than sufficient to render her the 
greatest commercial city in the world. The whole line of 
canal will exhibit boats loaded with flour, pork, beef and 
pearl ashes, flaxseed, wheat, barley, corn, hemp, wool, flax, 
iron, lead, copper, salt, gypsum, coal, tar, fur, peltry, gin- 
seng, beeswax, cheese, butter, lard, staves, lumber, and the 
other valuable productions of our country ; and also with 
merchandize from all parts of the world. Great manufac- 
turing establishments will spring up ; agriculture will estab- 
lish its granaries, and commerce its warehouses in all direc- 
tions. Villages, towns and cities will line the banks of the 
canal and the shores of the Hudson from Erie to New 
York. "The wilderness and the solitary place will become 
glad, and the desert will rejoice and blossom as the rose." 

While it is universally admitted that there ought to be 
a water communication between the Great Lakes and the 
tidewaters of the Hudson, a contrariety of opinion, greatly 
to be deplored, as tending to injure the whole undertaking, 
has risen with respect to the route that ought to be adopted. 
It is contended on the one side that the canal should com- 
mence in the vicinity of the outlet of Lake Erie, and be 
carried in the most eligible direction across the country to 
the headwaters of the Mohawk River at Rome, from 


whence it should be continued along- the valley of the Mo- 
hawk to the Hudson. It is, on the other side, insisted that 
it should be out around the cataract of Niagara ; that Lake 
Ontario should be navigated to the mouth of the Oswego 
River; that the navigation of that river, and Wood Creek, 
should be improved and pursued until the junction of the 
latter with the Mohawk at Rome. As to the expediency 
of a canal from Rome to the Hudson, there is no discrep- 
ance of opinion ; the route from Rome to the Great Lakes 
constitutes the subject of controversy. 

If both plans were presented to the Legislature, as 
worthy of patronage, and if the advocates of the route by 
Lake Ontario did not insist that their schemes should be 
exclusive and, of course, that its adoption should prove 
fatal to the other project, this question would not exhibit 
so serious an aspect. If two roads are made, that which is 
most accommodating will be preferred ; but if only one is 
established, whether convenient or inconvenient to indi- 
viduals, beneficial or detrimental to the public, it must 
necessarily be used. We are so fully persuaded of the su- 
periority of the Erie Canal that although we should greatly 
regret so useless an expenditure of public money as making 
a canal round the cataract of Niagara, yet we should not 
apprehend any danger from the competition of Montreal, 
if the former were established. 

An invincible argument in favour of the Erie Canal is, 
that it would diffuse the blessings of internal navigation 
over the most fertile and populous parts of the State, and 
supply the whole community with salt, gypsum, and in all 
probability coal. Whereas, the Ontario route would accom- 
modate but an inconsiderable part of our territory, and 
instead of being a great highway, leading directly to the 
object, it would be a circuitous by-road, inconvenient in all 
essential respects. 

The most serious objection against the Ontario route is 
that it will inevitably enrich the territory of a foreign 
power, at the expense of the United States. If a canal is 
cut round the falls of Niagara, and no countervailing nor 
counteracting system is adopted in relation to Lake Erie, 


the commerce of the West is lost to us forever. When a 
vessel once descends into Lake Ontario she will pursue the 
course ordained by nature. The British Government ar.e 
fully aware oi* this, and are now taking the most active 
measures to facilitate the passage down the St. Lawrence. 

It is not to be concealed that a great portion of the 
productions of our western country are now transported to 
Montreal, even with all the inconveniences attending the 
navigation down the Seneca and Oswego rivers; but if this 
route is improved in the way proposed, and the other not 
opened, the consequences will be most prejudicial. A barrel 
of flour is now transported from Cayuga Lake to Montreal 
for $1.50, and it cannot be conveyed to Albany for less 
than $2.50. This simple fact speaks a volume of admoni- 
tory instruction. 

But taking it for granted that the Ontario route will 
bring the commerce of the West to New York, yet the 
other ought to be preferred, on account of the superior 
facilities it affords. 

In the first place, it is nearer. The distance from Buf- 
falo to Rome is less than 200 miles in the course of the 
intended canal ; by Lake Ontario and Oswego, it is 232. 

Second. A loaded boat could pass from Buffalo to Rome 
by the Erie route in less than seven days, and with entire 
safety. By the Ontario route it will be perfectly uncertain, 
and not a little hazardous. After leaving the Niagara River 
it would have to pass an inland sea to the extent of 127 
miles, as boisterous and as dangerous as the Atlantic. And 
besides a navigation of at least twenty miles over another 
lake, it would have to ascend two difficult streams for 
fifty' five miles ; no calculation could then be made, either 
on the certainty or safety of this complicated and incon- 
venient navigation. 

Third. When a lake vessel would arrive at Buffalo she 
would have to unload her cargo, and when this cargo ar- 
rived at Albany by the Erie Canal, it would be shifted on 
board of a river sloop in order to be transported to New 
York. From the time of the first loading on the Great 
Lakes, to the last unloading at the storehouses in New 


York, there would be three loadings and three unloadings 
on this route. 

But when a lake vessel arrived with a view of passing 
the canal of Niagara, she would be obliged to shift her 
loading to that purpose, for it would be almost imprac- 
ticable to use lake vessels on the Niagara River on account 
of the difficulty of the ascending navigation. At Lewiston, 
or some other place on the Niagara, another change of the 
cargo on board of a lake vessel for Ontario would be neces- 
sary; at Oswego another, and at Albany another; so that 
on this route there would be five loadings and five unload- 
ings before the commodities were stored in New York. 

This difference is an object of great consequence, and 
presents the most powerful objections against the Ontario 
route; for to the delay we must add the accumulated ex- 
pense of these changes of the cargo, the storage, the waste, 
and damage, especially by theft, where the chances of 
depredation are increased by the merchandize passing 
through a multitude of hands, and the additional lake ves- 
sels, boats and men that will be required, thereby increasing 
in this respect alone the cost two-thirds above that at- 
tending the other course. And in general, it may be ob- 
served, that the difference between a single and double 
freight forms an immense saving. Goods are brought from 
Europe for twenty cents per cubic foot; whereas, the price 
from Philadelphia to Baltimore is equal to ten cents. This 
shows how far articles, once embarked, are conveyed with 
a very small addition of freight; and if such is the differ- 
ence between a single and a double freight, how much 
greater must it be in the case under consideration. 

If the fall from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario be 450 feet, 
as stated in Mr. Secretary Gallatin's report on canals, it 
will require at least forty-five locks for a navigation round 
the cataract. Whether it would be practicable to accom- 
modate all the vessels which the population and opulence 
of future times will create in those waters, with a passage 
through so many locks accumulated within a short distance, 
is a question well worthy of serious consideration. At all 


events, the demurrage must be frequent, vexatious, and 

When we consider the immense expense which would 
attend the canal proposed on the Niagara River, a canal 
requiring so many locks, and passing through such difficult 
ground ; when we view the Oswego River from its outlet 
at Oswego, to its origin in Oneida Lake, encumbered with 
dangerous rapids and falls, and flowing through a country 
almost impervious to canal operations ; and when we con- 
template the numerous embarrassments which are combined 
with the improvement of Wood Creek, we are prepared to 
believe that the expense of this route will not greatly fall 
short of the other. 

It is, however, alleged that it is not practicable to make 
this canal ; and that if practicable, the expense will be 
enormous, and will far transcend the faculties of the State. 

Lake Erie is elevated 541 feet above tide waters at Troy. 
The only higher ground between it and the Hudson is but 
a few miles from the lake; and this difficulty can be easily 
surmounted by deep cutting; of course no tunnel will be 
required. The rivers which cross the line of the canal 
can be easily passed by aqueducts ; on every summit level 
pienty of water can be obtained; whenever there is a great 
rise or descent, locks can be erected, and the whole line will 
not require more than sixty-two; perhaps there is not an 
equal extent of country in the world which presents fewer 
obstacles to the establishment of a canal. 

The liberality of nature has created the great ducts and 
arteries, and the ingenuity of art can easily provide the 
connecting veins. The general physiognomy of the coun- 
try is champaign, and exhibits abundance of water; a gen- 
tle rising from the Hudson to the lake ; a soil well adapted 
for such operations ; no impassable hills, and no insur- 
mountable waters. As to distance, it is not to be considered 
in relation to practicability. If a canal can be made for 
fifty miles it can be made for three hundred, provided 
there is no essential variance in the face of the country; 
the only difference will be that, in the latter case, it will take 
more time and consume more money. 


But this opinion does not rest for its support upon mere 
speculation. Canals have been successfully cut through 
more embarrassing ground, in various parts of the United 
States ; and even in part of the intended route from Schen- 
ectady to Rome locks have been erected at Little Falls, and 
at other places ; and short canals have been made, and all 
these operations have taken place in the most difficult parts 
of the whole course of the contemplated Erie navigation. 
Mr. William Weston, one of the most celebrated civil en- 
gineers in Europe, who has superintended canals in this 
State and Pennsylvania, and who is perfectly well ac- 
quainted with the country, has thus expressed his opinion 
on this subject: "Should your noble but stupendous plan 
of uniting Lake Erie with the Hudson be carried into 
effect, you have to fear no rivalry. The commerce of the extent of country, bordering on the upper lakes, 
is yours forever, and to such an incalculable amount as 
would baffle all conjecture to conceive. Its execution would 
confer immortal honour on the projectors and supporters, 
and would, in its eventual consequences, render New York 
the greatest commercial emporium in the world, with per- 
haps the exception at some distant day of New Orleans, or 
some other depot at the mouth of the majestic Mississippi. 
From your perspicuous topographical description, and neat 
plan and profile of the route of the contemplated canal, I 
entertain little doubt of the practicability of the measure." 

With regard to the expense of this work, different esti- 
mates will be formed. The commissioners appointed for 
that purpose were of opinion that it would not cost more 
than five millions of dollars. On this subject we must be 
guided by the light which experience affords in analogous 

The canal of Languedoc, or canal of the two seas in 
France, connects the Mediterranean and Atlantic, and is 
180 miles in length; it has 114 locks and sluices, and a 
tunnel 720 feet long. The breadth of the canal is 144 feet, 
and its depth six feet ; it was begun in 1666, and finished in 
1681, and cost £540,000 sterling, or £3,000 sterling a mile. 



The Holstein Canal, begun in 1777, anc ^ finished in 1785, 
extends about fifty miles; is 100 feet wide at the top and 
54 at the bottom, and not less than ten feet deep in any 
part. Ships drawing nine feet four inches in water pass 
through it from the German ocean, in the vicinity of Ton- 
ningen, into the Baltic. From two to three thousand ships 
have passed in one year. The expense of the whole work 
was a little more than a million and a half of dollars, which 
would be at the rate of $30,000 a mile for this ship navi- 

The extreme length of the canal from the Forth to the 
Clyde, in Scotland, is 35 miles. It rises and falls 160 feet 
by means of 39 locks. Vessels pass drawing eight feet of 
water, having 19 feet beam, and 73 feet length. The cost 
is calculated at £200,000 sterling, which is at the rate of 
about $23,000 a mile. But this was a canal for ships draw- 
ing eight feet of water, with an extraordinary rise for its 
length, and having more than one lock for every mile. 

The following will give you an idea of the money ex- 
pended on such works in England: 

Cost. Miles. 


The Rochdale Canal £291,900 313/2 

Ellesmere 400,000 57 

Kennet and Avon 420,000 78 

Grand Junction 500,000 90 

Leeds and Liverpool 800,000 129 


The miles of canal are 385^2, and the cost is £2,411,900 
sterling, or about $28,000 per mile. 

But in the estimation of the cost of these canals, un- 
questionably the price of the land over which they pass is 
included, and this is enormous. The land alone for one 
canal of sixteen miles is said to have cost £90,000 sterling. 
With us this would be but small. 

If we look at the history of the English canals we shall 
see how many objects of great expense are connected with 
them, with which we should have nothing to do, and that 
most of them have encountered and surmounted obstacles 
which we should not meet with. For instance, the Grand 


Junction Canal passes more than once the great ridge which 
divides the waters of England; ours will pass over a. coun- 
try which is in comparison champaign. 

But it is said that the price of labor in our country is 
so much above what it is in England that we must add 
greatly to the cost of her canals in estimating the expense 
of ours. 

But that is certainly a false conclusion, for not only must 
the price of land and the adventitious objects, which have 
been before referred to, be deducted from the cost of the 
foreign canals, but we must consider that there will be 
almost as great a difference in our favour in the cost of 
materials and brute labour, as there is in favour of Eng- 
land as to human labour, and it is well known that so 
much human labour is not now required on canals as for- 
merly. Machines for facilitating excavation have been 
invented and used with great success. 

Mr. Gallatin's report on canals contains several esti- 
mates of the cost of contemplated ones. From Weymouth 
to Taunton, in Massachusetts, the expense of a canal of 
26 miles, with a lockage of 260 feet, is set down at $1,250,- 
000. From Brunswick to Trenton, 28 miles, with a lock- 
age of 100 feet, $800,000. From Christiana to Elk, 22 
miles, with a lockage of 143 feet, $750,000. From Eliza- 
beth River to Pasquotanck, 22 miles, with a lockage of 40 
feet, $250,000. These estimates thus vary from $48,000 to 
less than $12,000 a mile, and furnish the medium of about 
$31,000 a mile. But it must be observed that they are for 
small distances, are calculated to surmount particular ob- 
stacles, and contemplate an extraordinary number of locks, 
and that they do not therefore furnish proper data from 
which to form correct conclusions with respect to the 
probable cost of an extensive canal, sometimes running 
over a great number of miles upon a level without any ex- 
pense for lockage, or any other expense than the mere 

Mr. Weston, before mentioned, estimated the expense 
of a canal from the tidewaters at Troy to Lake Ontario, 
a distance of 160 miles (exclusive of Lake Oneida), going 


round the Cahoos, and embracing 55 locks of three feet lift 
each, at $2,200,000, a little more than $13,000 a mile. 

Fortunately, however, we have more accurate informa- 
tion than mere estimates. 

In the appendix to Mr. Gallatin's report it is stated, by 
Mr. Joshua Gilpin, that "by actual measurement, and the 
sums paid on the feeder, it was found that one mile on the 
Delaware and Chesapeake Canal, the most difficult of all 
others, from its being nearly altogether formed through 
hard, rocky ground, cost $13,000, and one other mile, per- 
fectly level, and without particular impediment, cost $2,300 ; 
from hence, the general average would be reduced to $7,650 
per mile/' 

The Middlesex Canal, in Massachusetts, runs over 28 
miles of ground, presenting obstacles much greater than 
can be expected on the route we purpose. This canal cost 
$478,000, which is about $17,000 a mile. It contains 22 
locks of solid masonry, and excellent workmanship, and to 
accomplish this work it was necessary to dig in some places 
to the depth of 20 feet, to cut through ledges of rocks, to 
fill some valleys and morasses, and to throw several aque- 
ducts across the intervening rivers. One of these across 
the river Shawshine is 280 feet long and 22 feet above the 

From the Tonnewanta Creek to the Seneca River 

is a fall of 195 feet 

From thence to the Rome summit is a rise of . . . . 50 feet 

From thence to the Hudson River is a fall of . . . . 380 feet 

The whole rise and fall 625 feet 

This will require 62 locks of ten feet lift each. The ex- 
pense of such locks, as experimentally proved in several 
instances in this State, would be about $620,000. 

We have seen that on the Middlesex Canal there are 22 
locks for 28 miles, which is a lock for somewhat more than 
every mile, whereas 62 locks for 300 miles is but about one 
lock for every five miles ; and the lockage of the Middlesex 
Canal would alone cost $220,000. It would, therefore, 


appear to be an allowance perhaps too liberal to consider 
the cost of it as a fair criterion of the expense of canals in 
general in this country, and of this in particular. Reser- 
voirs and tunnels are the most expensive part of the opera- 
tion, and none will be necessary in our whole route. The 
expense of the whole earthwork of excavating a mile of 
canal on level ground, 50 feet wide and five feet deep, at 
18 cents per cubic yard, and allowing for the cost of form- 
ing and trimming the banks, puddling, etc., will not exceed 
$4,000 per mile, and the only considerable aqueduct on the 
whole line will be over the Genesee River. 

From a deliberate consideration of these different esti- 
mates and actual expenditures, we are fully persuaded that 
this great work will not cost more than $20,000 a mile, 
or six millions of dollars in the whole ; but willing to make 
every possible allowance, and even conceding that it will 
cost double that sum, yet still we contend that there is noth- 
ing which ought to retard its execution. This canal cannot 
be made in short time. It will be the work perhaps of ten 
or fifteen years. 

The money will not be wanted at once. The expendi- 
ture, in order to be beneficial, ought not to exceed $500,000 
a year, and the work may be accomplished in two ways : 
either by companies incorporated for particular sections of 
the route, or by the State. If the first is resorted to, 
pecuniary sacrifices will still be necessary on the part of 
the public, and great care ought to be taken to guard 
against high tolls, which will certainly injure if not ruin 
the whole enterprise. 

If the State shall see fit to achieve this great work, 
there can be no difficulty in providing funds. Stock can 
be created and sold at an advanced price. The ways and 
means of paying the interest will be only required. After 
the first year, supposing an annual expenditure of $500,000, 
$30,000 must be raised to pay an interest of 6 per cent. ; 
after the second year, $60,000, and so on. At this rate the 
interest will regularly increase with beneficial appropria- 
tion, and will be so little in amount that it may be raised in 
many shapes without being burdensome to the community. 



In all human probability the augmented revenue proceeding 
from the public salt works, and the increased price of the 
State lands in consequence of this undertaking, will more 
than extinguish the interest of the debt contracted for that 
purpose. We should take into view the land already sub- 
scribed by individuals for this work, amounting to 106,632 
acres. These donations, together with those which may be 
confidently anticipated, will exceed in value a million of 
dollars, and it will be at all times in the power of the State 
to raise a revenue from the imposition of transit duties, 
which may be so slight as scarcely to be felt, and yet the 
income may be so great as in a short time to extinguish the 
debt, and this might take effect on the completion of every 
important section of the work. 

If the Legislature shall consider this important project 
in the same point of view, and shall unite with us in opinion, 
that the general prosperity is intimately and essentially in- 
volved in its prosecution, we are fully persuaded that now 
is the proper time for its commencement. Delays are the 
refuge of weak minds, and to procrastinate on this occasion 
is to show a culpable inattention to the bounties of nature; 
a total insensibility to the blessings of Providence, and an 
inexcusable neglect of the interests of society. If it were 
intended to advance the views of individuals, or to foment 
the divisions of party; if it promoted the interests of a few, 
at the expense of the prosperity of the many ; if its benefits 
were limited as to place, or fugitive as to duration, then 
indeed it might be received with cold indifference, or 
treated with stern neglect; but the overflowing blessings 
from this great fountain of public good and national 
abundance, will be as extensive as our country, and as 
durable as time. 

The considerations which now demand an immediate, 
and an undivided attention to this great object, are so ob- 
vious, so various, and so weighty, that we shall only attempt 
to glance at some of the most prominent. 

In the first place, it must be evident that no period could 
be adopted in which the work can be prosecuted with less 
expense. Every day augments the value of the land 


through which the canal will pass ; and when we consider 
the surplus hands which have been recently dismissed from 
tiie army into the walks of private industry, and the facility 
with which an addition can be procured to the mass of our 
active labour, in consequence of the convulsions of Europe, 
it must be obvious that this is now the time to make those 
indispensable acquisitions. 

Second. The longer this work is delayed, the greater 
will be the difficulty in surmounting the interests that will 
rise up in opposition to it. Expedients on a contracted 
scale have already been adopted for the facilitation of inter- 
course. Turnpikes, locks, and short canals have been re- 
sorted to, and in consequence of those establishments, 
villages have been laid out and towns have been contem- 
plated. To prevent injurious speculation, to avert violent 
opposition, and to exhibit dignified impartiality and pater- 
nal affection to your fellow-citizens, it is proper that they 
should be notified at once of your intentions. 

Third. The experience of the late war has impressed 
every thinking- man in the community with the importance 
of this communication. The expenses of transportation 
frequently exceeded the original value of the article, and at 
all times operated with injurious pressure upon the finances 
of the nation. The money thus lost for the want of this 
communication would perhaps have defrayed more than 
one-half of its expense. 

Fourth. Events which are daily occurring on our 
frontiers demonstrate the necessity of this work. Is it of 
importance that our honourable merchants should not be 
robbed of their legitimate profits; that the public revenues 
should not be seriously impaired by dishonest smuggling, 
and that the commerce of our cities should not be supplanted 
by the mercantile establishments of foreign countries? 
Then it is essential that this sovereign remedy for maladies 
so destructive and ruinous should be applied. It is with 
inconceivable regret w r e record the well-known fact that 
merchandize from Montreal has been sold to an alarming 
extent on our borders for 15 per cent, below the New York 


Fifth. A measure of this kind will have a benign ten- 
dency in raising the value of the national domains, in ex- 
pediting the sale, and enabling the payment. Our national 
debt may thus, in a short time, be extinguished. Our taxes 
of course will be diminished, and a considerable portion of 
revenue may then be expended in great public improve- 
ments ; in encouraging the arts and sciences ; in patronizing 
the operations of industry; in fostering the inventions of 
genius, and in diffusing the blessings of knowledge. 

Sixth. However serious the fears which have been en- 
tertained of a dismemberment of the Union by collisions 
between the North and the South, it is to be apprehended 
that the most imminent danger lies in another direction, 
and that a line of separation may be eventually drawn be- 
tween the Atlantic and the western states, unless they are 
cemented by a common, an ever-acting, and a powerful 
interest. The commerce of the ocean, and the trade of the 
lakes, passing through one channel, supplying the wants, 
increasing the wealth, and reciprocating the benefits of each 
great section of the empire, will form an imperishable ce- 
ment of connection, and an indissoluble bond of union. 
New York is both Atlantic and western ; and the only State 
in which this union of interests can be formed and perpetu- 
ated, and in which this great centripetal power can be ener- 
getically applied. Standing on this exalted eminence, with 
power to prevent a train of the most extensive and afflict- 
ing calamities that ever visited the w r orld (for such a train 
will inevitably follow a dissolution of the Union), she will 
justly be considered an enemy to the human race, if she 
does not exert for this purpose the high faculties which the 
Almighty has put into her hands. 

Lastly, it may be confidently asserted that this canal, as 
tc the extent of its route, as to the countries which it con- 
nects, and as to the consequences which it will produce, is 
without a parallel in the history of mankind. The union of 
the Baltic and the Euxine; of the Red Sea and the Medit- 
erranean ; of the Euxine and the Caspian ; and of the Med- 
iterranean and the Atlantic, has been projected or executed 
by the chiefs of powerful monarchies, and the splendour of 


the design has always attracted the admiration of the world. 
It remains for a free state to create a new era in history, 
and to erect a work more stupendous, more magnificent, 
and more beneficial than has hitherto been achieved by the 
human race. Character is as important to nations as to 
individuals, and the glory of a republic, founded on the 
promotion of the general good, is the common property of 
all its citizens. 

We have thus discharged with frankness and plainness, 
and with every sentiment of respect, a great duty to our- 
selves, to our fellow-citizens, and to posterity, in presenting 
this subject to the fathers of the commonwealth. And may 
that Almighty Being in whose hands are the destinies of 
states and nations, enlighten your councils and invigorate 
your exertions in favour of the best interests of our beloved 











I. Beginnings of Commercial Union in Buffalo. 

Whoever seeks for landmarks in an American city is apt 
to seek in vain. Save perhaps in Boston, which has always 
held to certain Old World habits, and to some degree in a 
few other eastern communities, the tendency of the Ameri- 
can town is to destroy before its structures may fairly be 
called middle-aged. Flimsy construction and the sweep of 
fires aid this tendency. Even if spared conflagration, the 
fever for ''improvement" consumes the old, tears down and 
rebuilds, practically with each new generation. Even the 
burial-grounds, the resting-places of the forefathers, which 
of all places it would seem should be left in decorous quiet, 
secure from the advance of "improvement," are removed 
and obliterated with as little concern as though they had 
never been consecrated to peace. 

These changes are not after all distinctively American, as 
any one knows who has searched say in London or Paris for 
streets and buildings of which he has read in history. 
Growth, anywhere, implies destruction ; and the new is 
bound to supplant the old. In most large American towns, 
expanding according to more or less haphazard plans, the 

23? -^ c 


periods of rapid growth can be noted not only by the ab- 
sence of landmarks, but by the obliteration even of sites. 

No city shows these peculiarities more markedly than 
Buffalo. For a hundred years we have been changing not 
only the names of our streets, but in very many cases, the 
streets themselves. The primitive village that Father Elli- 
cott plotted encroached upon the forest to the north only as 
far as Chippewa Street ; easterly it stopped at Elm, and its 
westerly boundary was the curving line of the State reserva- 
tion, coming to the river at the foot of Genesee Street. The 
village really stopped at the high bluff of the Terrace, below 
which were swamp and sand wastes. For say a score of 
years after the village of New Amsterdam was born, the 
region below the high natural bluff of the Terrace was of 
little account. Then came the Erie Canal — or as they 
called it then, the Great Western Canal. Long before con- 
struction reached Buffalo, the vast project had precipitated 
a strife between Buffalo and Black Rock, for the canal ter- 
minus. Thanks to the energy of Judge Samuel Wilkeson 
and his supporters, Buffalo was made the terminus, the har- 
bor was dug out, and the big ditch of the canal was cut 
straight through the waste lands under the Terrace. Sun- 
dry squatters were ousted, a few old warehouses were torn 
down, and numerous new streets, for the most part narrow 
and near together, appeared. 

Erie Street, laid out by the Holland Land Company as 
Vollenhoven Avenue, ran from Main Street at "the 
Churches" to Buffalo Creek near its mouth. Prior to the 
canal construction, the only other thoroughfare in those low 
grounds was the old beach road, which, turning off from 
what is now lower Main Street, followed the right or west- 
erly bank of Little Buffalo Creek to the Big Buffalo, thence 
proceeded irregularly to the old ferry at Black Rock. This 
was a very old route — an Indian path in the pre-historic 
days and a much-used road prior to and during the War of 
1 812. Before the mouth of Big Buffalo Creek — then called 
"Big" to distinguish it from the "Little," which was an im- 
portant stream in the early village economy — was dredged 
and the bar removed, sail craft were wont to come to, off 


the mouth of the creek, and disembark by row-boats. British 
troops, prior to 1796, and American troops in later years, 
were accustomed to row up Buffalo Creek to the Little Buf- 
falo, thence up that to a landing-place on the right (or west) 
bank, from which point they could march or ride in wagons 
up the hill to the site of Buffalo ; or, as was more often the 
case, follow the shore road among the sand dunes to the old 
Black Rock ferry. One of the earliest Buffalo pictures 
shows such a landing of troops at this point. 

When the great canal was dug old Water Street, as this 
road came to be called, increased in importance, and that 
part of it which skirted Little Buffalo Creek became known 
as Canal Street, and extended to the Terrace. This must 
not be confused with the notorious Canal Street of later 
days, which under the names of Rock Street and Cross 
Street, came into existence after the canal was opened, In 
still later years, when the upper reach of Little Buffalo, 
within the city, was lost in the construction of the canal ex- 
tension known as the Main and Hamburg, this lower part 
of the stream, west of Main, became Commercial Slip, and 
the street bordering it became Commercial Street, which 
name it still bears. It was no misnomer, in the '3o's and 
'4o's, for not only that street, but others in the neighbor- 
hood, were very much alive with the business of the growing 
town and port. 

In 1825, while the great heaps of earth were still being 
thrown up from the unfinished canal cut, and here and there 
used to fill low places, the village fathers extended old 
Water Street across the Little Buffalo. Four years later it 
was laid out to Main, and in 1832 — the year the village be- 
came a city — this street was established as Prime, from 
Lloyd to Canal (now Commercial). It followed in general, 
the curve in Buffalo Creek, along the north bank of which, 
a short block distant from Prime, ran Front Street. At 
right angles to Prime, Hanover Street (also in its early 
years called Canal Street) was established in 1829 from 
Prime to Cross. In the '3o's, a part of what was afterwards 
Prime, was known as St. Joseph Street ; but in 1845, tne 
name Hanover was adopted for the entire thoroughfare. 




Other streets in this little angle appeared, changed their 

names a few times, after the usual Buffalo fashion, and 
either remained on the map to this day or were wiped out 
by subsequent improvements. The construction of slips con- 
necting the Buffalo Creek with the canal, worked many 
changes ; later, as these slips were abandoned and filled and 
built over, the old lines were more thoroughly obliterated 
than before. Greatest of all was the change wrought when 
in 1886, the Lackawanna Railroad extended its tracks 
through this part of the city. Both Front Street and Prime 
were wiped off the map. Buildings which had originally 
fronted on Prime were either obliterated, or, as was the case 
with the old vEtna building, a large four-story brick struc- 
ture, moved back a score or so of feet. The once imposing 
portal of this block, flanked by heavy columns, is there yet, 
but it does not look out upon the busy street of which it was 
once a part, nor even stand on the old line of that street ; 
and close to its threshold, raised above the old grade, run the 
railroad tracks. 

Front Street was indubitably a street ; so recorded, Aug\ 
18, 1821, as of 66 feet wide. But it was always a street with 
only one side. It skirted the "big" creek, and from the day 
when Judge Wilkeson's famous exploits first made the creek- 
wharfage accessible and valuable, that portion of the "street" 
running west from Main to Commercial Slip was the chief 
landing place and point of departure. Business centered 
there, so that, by 1825, when the opening of the canal 
changed so many of the currents of commerce, the north or 
land side of Front Street was well built with warehouses 
and stores. The earlier wharves were of private construc- 
tion ; but by 1837 we find the Council of Buffalo authoriz- 
ing the building of wharves in Front Street at the cost of 
the city. Although that date — say the later '30's — was the 
day of small things in some matters — it was emphatically 
the day of growth, of larger and larger things, in this par- 
ticular part of Buffalo. It was the time of the steamboat 
era, when each season brought new and finer craft. There 
were no railroads to the West, but the great prairie states 
were calling. Food and construction material, implements 


snd machinery for all the grain empire of the Middle West, 
came to the foot of Buffalo's Main Street, to this bit of old 
Front Street, for shipment by lake. So, too, came the emi- 
grant, from New England, from Ireland, from Germany, by 
the thousand. Schooners, brig-s and even square-rigged 
ships lay with sails furled at the wharves along Front Street, 
loading or unloading, all day long-, or all night. The Ter- 
race with its old Market House, Commercial and other 
lower-town streets, were thronged with business-men, with 
sightseers, with emigrants. The steamboat runner, the over- 
loaded omnibus, the drays piled high with freight, throngs 
everywhere, — these are features preserved in chronicles and 
pictures of that period. The sailor ashore, the canal boat- 
man, and many another reckless type of man and woman,, 
kept carnival after their kind. This part of the city, and this 
period, gave birth among other things, to America's most 
distinctive form of indoor entertainment — negro minstrelsy. 
But the real life of Buffalo was commercial and it centered 
in the streets of which mention has been made. 

The first association of Buffalo businessmen, for business 
ends, was in the spring of 1819. when the Buffalo Harbor 
Company was formed. Their achievements have been re- 
corded elsewhere ; l but no survey of business organization 
in Buffalo should fail to note, as a starting-point, the initial 
harbor improvement. Nine of the foremost men of the vil- 
lage formed the first company : Jonas Harrison, Ebenezer 
Walden, Heman B. Potter, J. G. Camp, Oliver Forward, 
A. H. Tracy, Ebenezer Johnson, E. F. Norton, and Charles 
Townsend. These are the names appended to the petition 
to the Legislature for a State loan of $12,000 to be used for 
harbor improvement. Judge Wilkeson was not a member 
of the original company; but as it turned out, it was his 
energy and practical ability that accomplished the under- 

1. "Historical Writings of Judge Samuel Wilkeson," 5 Pubs. Buf. Hist. 
Soc., 185-214. 


IL Birth of the Board of Trade. 

Buffalo's success over Black Rock, in the canal contest, 
tended to strengthen the bond of union among- her business 
men, but over twenty years went by before any formal step 
to that end was taken. In those twenty years business de- 
veloped rapidly. Central Wharf, as the part of Front Street 
between Main Street and Commercial Slip came to be called, 
became built up closely with warehouses and stores devoted 
for the most part to the various forms of business connected 
with the lake and canal. Prime Street, too, as well as other 
thoroughfares in this compact neighborhood, shared in the 
same general character. 

In 1844, among the substantial merchants of the city, was 
Russell H. Heywood. He had come to Buffalo poor, but 
self-reliant and capable — the sort of young man who makes 
his way. 1 By 1826 he was keeping a little store; and 
Buffalo's first Directory, in 1828, has this entry: 

"HEYWOOD, R. H., merchant, green store, Main Street." 

The second Directory, in 1832, records Mr. Heywood as 
"merchant, main st. dwel. seneca st." ; and the third Direc- 
tory, in 1835, has the still more laconic entry: "Heywood, 
merch. h sen bel ell" — which obviously means that the house 
of Merchant Heywood was in Seneca Street below Ellicott. 
In 1842 Mr. Heywood's name appears as proprietor of the 
Venice mill, at which time, as for some years after, he re- 
sided at No. 77 East Seneca Street. In 1847, ne * s recorded 
as a flour dealer, with house at 81 East Seneca Street. His 
store, in the earlier years, was at one time on Pearl near 
Seneca. The "Venice mills" were probably so called be- 
cause Mr. Heywood had business interests at Venice, Ohio. 
Among his holdings in Buffalo was a tract of land running 
from Seneca to Exchange Street, through which Wells and 
Carroll streets have been opened, and here he built a yellow- 
brick house, a landmark for many years in the heart of a 
good residence neighborhood. 

2. It has been recorded that "he came to Buffalo a poor boy, and his 

business career began by selling molasses candy on the dock." However his 

business career began, he could hardly be called "a poor boy" at the time, for 
he was about 27 years old when he came to Buffalo. 


Founder of the Buffalo Board of Trade. 


With other merchants of his clay, Mr. Heywood felt the 
need of a business organization, which would bring mer- 
chants and forwarders, vessel-owners and others into closer 
touch, and enable them to adopt definite policies and meth- 
ods, both for their own good and to promote the interests 
of the city. There was much discussion of the matter, in 
stores and offices, in the winter of 1843^44, with the result 
that a meeting was held, January 16, 1844, at the office of 
Joy & Webster, in the now old but then new Webster Block. 
A still earlier meeting may have been held in this matter, 
but no record is found of it. Indeed, the early records, for 
many years, are very scanty. One searches the newspapers 
of 1844 in vain for any record of this movement, which was 
to be of so great import to Buffalo. The feature of local 
reporting had not then developed, nor indeed, had graphic, 
detailed news reporting of any sort. But it is matter of 
record that at this January meeting, Mr. Heywood ad- 
dressed his associates, stating that the purpose of the sug- 
gested organization was "to cultivate friendship among the 
business men of Buffalo, to unite them in one general policy 
for the general benefit of trade and commerce of Buffalo, 
and to make it a market for western produce." Mr. Hey- 
wood further "proposed, for the purpose of carrying out 
this project/' that if they would form a "Board of Trade," 
he would provide a room suitable for their needs, "and do- 
nate the use of it as long as they might want it for the pur- 
pose." This proposition brought into existence the Buffalo 
Board of Trade. 

Messrs. J. L. Kimberly, S. Purdy, Philo Durfee, R. C. 
Palmer, and William Williams were appointed a committee 
to draw up a constitution and by-laws, and report. John L. 
Kimberly, chairman of this committee, was the head of the 
firm of Kimberly, Pease & Co., forwarders "on the dock" at 
the corner of Lloyd Street. Samuel Purdy, of Purdy & Co., 
was a commission merchant at No. 6 Prime Street. Philo 
Durfee, also a commission merchant, was at No. 12 Prime 
Street, with a residence at No. 24 Delaware Street. Rufus 
C. Palmer, of Holt, Palmer & Co., forwarders on the dock 
near Main, had his residence at No. 22 West Seneca Street ; 


and William Williams resided at No. n West Seneca Street. 
It is worth while to note where the leading business men of 
the town lived in the early '40's. Seneca Street, as the fore- 
going indicates, was still a pleasant desirable residence 
street, with ample dooryards and orchards around the 
homes. In this year of 1844 there w T ere no fewer than nine 
men by the name of William Williams, prominent enough 
in the business of Buffalo to be mentioned in the Directory ; 
the one who shared in drafting the first constitution of the 
Board of Trade was a druggist. 

On January 30th this committee submitted to another 
meeting of merchants, a draft of constitution and by-laws, 
which was adopted. No record of further action is found 
until March nth, when a third meeting was held, at which 
Mr. Heywood was chosen president. Other officers and a 
first board of directors (hereinafter given) were named. 
And although there may have been some uncertainty as to 
how at once to make the organization effective and a force 
in the community, at any rate, Buffalo's Board of Trade | . 

was born. It had a name and a reason for being; all that 
was lacking was a local habitation. This Mr. Heywood un- 
dertook to supply. 

Some time before this, he had acquired the northwest 
corner of Prime and Hanover streets, extending from Han- 
over Street to Prime Slip, which had been cut through from 
Buffalo Creek to the Erie Canal. On the 1st of September, 
1844, ground was broken for what was to be known as "The 
Merchants' Exchange." Construction was vigorously 
pushed during the winter, with the purpose of having it 
ready for occupancy by the 1st of May. This was not quite 
realized, the dedication coming in June. By the middle of 
December the walls were up and roof on. It was a four- 
story brick building, with a frontage of 85 feet on Prime 
Street, on Prime and the canal 93 feet, and a depth on Han- 
over Street of 124 feet. The first floor was taken up with 
six good-sized stores. In the second story was the Mer- 
chants' Exchange room, an octagon, 30 by 60 feet, open 
through the upper stories so that it was 30 feet high, with a 
large skylight in the arched ceiling. The floor was of 


marble. Around the Exchange room were twelve offices, 
varying in size from 19 by 24 feet to 20 by 40 feet. The 
third story was similarly divided into offices, and in the 
fourth story or loft were twenty rooms, chiefly for storage. 
The entrance to the offices in the second story was from 
the Exchange room, and to those in the third story from a 
gallery. The building was fireproof, according to the con- 
struction of the day, having a tin roof, iron shutters and 
doors, and copper gutters. The estimated cost was $20,000. 

In the scanty allusions to it in the contemporary press, it 
is spoken of as "one of the finest buildings in the city." 
From a description of it which has been written by one who 
knew it well when she was a child 1 we may readily believe 
that it merited the praise given it. 

It stood by itself, clear from other buildings. The prin- 
cipal entrance was on Prime Street; there was also an en- 
trance on the Hanover-street side. The rear wall was of 
solid masonry, without windows. The fourth side skirted 
Prime Slip, and from the upper stories, when the iron shut- 
ters were thrown back, one could look down into that little 
water-way, through which canal-boats passed, and there 
were great rings in the wall where they could tie up. 

Entering from Prime Street, one passed up wide marble 
stairs to the main or Exchange floor. This floor was sim- 
ilarly reached, but through a vestibule, on the Hanover- 
street side. The lower floor, devoted to stores, had no con- 
nection with the floors above, to reach which, one passed up 
stairs, interrupted with a landing, at the Prime-street end. 
The middle part of the second and third floors was an open 
space with a tesselated floor. Into this rotunda, as it was 
called, opened the surrounding rooms. Those on the right, 
entering from Prime Street, were devoted to the Board of 
Trade. "These rooms contained little beside tables covered 
with green baize, and chairs. They occupied all the space 
between the two outer entrances. Over the first door was a 

1. "Buffalo Sixty Years Ago,*' by Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Keller, in the 
Buffalo Express, Mch. 17, 1907. The writer's father, James S. Leavitt, carried 
on his business of book-binding in this first Merchants' Exchange for some 


small block sign with gilt letters. It read: 'Board of 
Trade.' " Adjoining were two reading-rooms with high 
tables at which the visitor stood to consult the newspaper- 
files thereon. On the opposite side of the rotunda were of- 
fices, and directly opposite the Hanover-street entrance were 
a number of small bins, where samples of grain were shown. 

The stairs from the Hanover-street entrance (writes Mrs. 
Keller) "led to a gallery above about four feet wide, and 
railed with a rough-sawed banister. Here we could see all 
that took place on the floor below. After going up perpen- 
dicularly the height of the third story, the walls arched and 
terminated in a large oblong skylight. These walls and 
ceiling combined, were frescoed with beautiful designs. 
Over the two doors at the end of the building was a buffalo. 
This was plain enough to me, but the picture facing it, a 
man standing up in a little two-wheeled wagon, driving 
three or four runaway horses, and not looking one bit 
afraid, was always a puzzle. The rooms of the upper floor, 
being shut in by these walls, were lighted by their windows 
only. A narrow passage ran all around this story. The 
rooms, with the exception of the two at the end, were for 
storage only. In one, was a flight of stairs going up to a 
scuttle, for the top of this famous building was the principal 
observatory in the locality. From it could be seen for miles 
the incoming and outgoing vessels, and those that were at 
times unfortunately stuck in the ice. . . . Most of the of- 
fices in the gallery were rented to various people, Mr. Hey- 
wood retaining one for his own personal use. Here was 
permanently located the office of the Morse Telegraph Com- 
pany. . . . 

"The sessions of the Board of Trade were held in the ro- 
tunda, and how many have Sarah 1 and I attended, watchers 
in the gallery above ! The hour of dismissal was announced 
by the ringing of a gong. The gong was kept in the bindery 
and was usually moved vigorously by one of the boys. 
When in my younger days I chanced to be on hand at this 


auspicious time, I performed this duty — performed it with 
mingled feelings of delight and compassion — delight in my 

I. Sarah Leavitt, sister of Mrs. Keller. 


fancied authority, and compassion for the poor merchants 
who, I supposed} one and all, wished to remain much 

Such was the building in which Buffalo's Board of Trade 
met for the ceremony of dedication, June 5, 1845. O n 
March 10th of that year, a second election of officers had 
been held, those who had been chosen the year before being 
reelected. The meagre report of the first meeting "on 
'Change" in Buffalo, given by the Buffalo Commercial Ad- 
vertiser, said : 

"The first meeting of the business men constituting the 
Board of Trade, was held at the Merchants' Exchange to- 
day noon. On the occasion, R. H. Heywood, Esq., the 
President, made an exceedingly appropriate address which 
was well received, and after the exchange of congratula- 
tions on the prospect of our city now taking her stand 
alongside of other and larger cities in having an association 
of merchants, who can assemble together and discuss mat- 
ters pertaining to the welfare of the business-man, the meet- 
ing adjourned, to meet at the same hour tomorrow." 

President Heywood's address on this occasion has been 
preserved, and may well be included here. He said : 

Gentlemen of the Board of Trade — In erecting this building I 
have endeavored to combine strength, durability, utility and just 
architectural proportions; the eye has been consulted instead of 
works on architecture. How far I have succeeded I leave you to 

I congratulate you on this our first meeting on 'Change, and 
tender you the use of this room, while I am fortunate enough to 
remain the owner, for the purpose of meeting on 'Change, each day, 
and holding any meetings connected with the trade and commerce 
of this city — to exhibit your samples of grain and light articles of 
merchandise— to place on the bulletin your advertisements of the 
sailing of your steamboats and vessels and articles of merchandise 
you have for sale; on condition you repair all damage you may do 
the room, other than natural wear ; employ a person to take care of 
your samples and advertisements and sweep the room after each 

I will briefly give you my views of the benefits to result from the 
forming a board of trade with its committee of reference — meeting 


on 'Change— exhibiting samples— advertising on bulletin— register 
of arrivals at the hotels, and the reading room. 

A Board of Trade, it is taken for granted, in all cities, contains 
the wisdom, wealth and integrity of the active commercial portion of 
the community — it elevates the character of each member, and of 
the city— promotes fair dealing and kindly feeling toward each 
other — gives force and character to any project that may be started 
for obtaining the enactment of laws for the benefit of trade and 
commerce — establishes precedence, rules and usages for governing 

Committee of Reference. The referees are your peers, deemed 
well versed in trade and commerce; elected by yourselves each 
year, to hear and decide all matters of difference without delay; 
thereby avoiding vexatious and frequently almost interminable law 
suits, engendering ill-will toward each other, perhaps for life, which, 
when decided, the decision is quite as apt to be wrong as right, 
having to be decided by men comparatively ignorant of commercial 

We find the first Board of Reference was established at Pisa, 
in Italy, in the eleventh century, composed of arbiters of disputes, 
freely chosen by the merchants and confirmed by the Government. 
Merchants and ship-owners were in the habit of assembling on 
Christmas evening every year, and electing by vote two worthy men, 
experienced in commercial affairs, under the name of consuls, and 
another as judge of appeals. Such committees of arbitration were 
afterwards appointed in all the large commercial cities of Europe, 
and in course of time really became tribunals of justice. 

New York has her Chamber of Commerce, chartered by the Brit- 
ish Government before the Revolution, with a renewed charter by 
the United States Government. 

All cities throughout the world of any note have their chamber 
of commerce or board of trade, with committee of reference, and 
place "where merchants most do congregate." 

Buffalo is now one of the largest grain markets in the world and 
is destined, to be the largest, when half of the western prairies are 
brought under the plow; with three hundred ships, fifty steamboats, 
and hundreds of merchants trading with her — surely what has been 
indispensable in other cities since the middle ages, must be essential 
to Buffalo. 

Meeting on 'Change gives you an opportunity of comparing views 
and establishing uniform prices for the day — you mingle together 
and become better acquainted with each other, and rub off many 
sharp corners of jealousy and selfishness. By promptness at the 


hour all persons that have business with you will expect to meet 
you instead of spending hours as is frequently the case, in pursuit 
of you about the city. Few will be willing to acknowledge that they 
expect no person to see them on business in the course of the day — 
your promptness on 'Change or absence will be taken as a criterion 
of the amount of business you are doing — meeting on 'Change, you 
will soon find, enables you to accomplish more in a few minutes 
than you could otherwise in hours. 

Exhibiting samples of grain with the amount, conveys to the 
purchaser the knowledge that you have it for sale, and having the 
samples ranged along together, enables you and him to compare 
qualities and judge of the amount on the market. 

Advertising on the bulletin the sailing of your steamboats and 
vessels, conveys the knowledge that you are up for freight or passage 
to particular ports — saves the answering of many questions — and 
the person wishing freight or passage the time and trouble of en- 
quiring at every office along the dock. 

You will find the same advantage in advertising the commodities 
you have for sale. 

The register of arrivals at the hotels enables you to see at a glance 
who of your acquaintance are in the city and their destination — 
that you may wait on them — show them the articles you have for 
sale — induce them to become customers then or at some future time 
— to know what strangers to you are in the city and if desirable to 
make their acquaintance — to know how all your doubtful debtors 
are passing you by to pay their cash or obtain credit in other cities — 
with a view of putting you off to some more convenient season. 

The reading room is furnished with the best commercial papers 
from the principal cities in the United States, placed on file from 
twenty to thirty minutes before individuals can get their papers at 
the postofiice, by waiting as they must for the distribution of the 

The cost of being a member of the Board of Trade, which en- 
titles you to all the privileges I have named, is estimated not to 
exceed five dollars per annum. 

Many of you take two or three New York papers, at a cost of 
ten to twenty-five dollars per annum, which contain but a small por 
tion of the news you would find at the reading room, and that, in 
these days of railroads and electricity, very stale, when all your 
neighbors have it from twenty to thirty minutes before you. 1 

i. Russell H. Heywood was a large figure in the early history of Buffalo, 
and should have a fuller record in her annals than can here be given. Born 
of Revolutionary stock in Worcester, Mass., Sept. 20, 1797, he settled in Paris 


The original constitution stated that "the objects of the 
Board shall be to promote just and equitable principles in 
trade, to correct abuses and generally to protect the rights 
and advance the interests of the mercantile classes." The 
admission fee was fixed at five dollars, and annual dues at 
two dollars. The first officers, elected March II, 1845, 
were: President, Russell H. Heywood; first vice-president, 
George B. Webster ; second vice-president, William Wil- 
liams ; secretary, Giles K. Coats ; treasurer, John R. Lee. 
The first board of directors consisted of H. M. Kinne, Philo 
Durfee, A. Hayden, J. L. Kimberly, R. P. Wilkins, A. H. 
Caryl, J. B. Bull, George Davis, J. E. Evans, and John D. 
Shepard. Henry Daw, Walter Joy and A. P. Yaw were the 
first board of reference. 

The original members of the Board of Trade, whose 
names appear with the constitution and by-laws as printed in 
1845, were as follows: 

George W. Allen, Cyrus Athearn, N. Ayrault, William 

John G. Brown, J. B. Bull, J. Brainard, Benjamin Bid- 
well, Oliver Bugbee, Theodore Butler, C. C. Bristol, P. C. 
Blancan, Warren Bryant, J. W r . Beals, J. R. Beals, M. P. 
Bush, James W. Brown. 

Hill, Oneida Co., N. Y., and in 1824 moved to Buffalo, where he continued 
active in business until the late 'so's. Mr. William W r . Folwell of Minneapolis, 
whose wife, Sarah H. r is Mr. Hey wood's daughter, kindly supplies the follow- 
ing data: 

"Mr. Heywood built the old Chamber of Commerce on the dock. I have 
heard him tell how he employed an artist to paint on the wall of one end of 
the chamber proper a big bull, and on the other a bear. He was president of 
the Buffalo & Hornellsville railroad, and sunk $80,000 in it. Spite of losses, 
he had before the panic of 1857 acquired what was a large fortune for the 
time. He was hard hit by that revulsion. He had endorsed liberally and had 
to pay other men's debts in large amounts. 

_ "In the '3o's Mr. Heywood boueht a large tract of lz:\6 in Erie County, 
Ohio, some 6.000 3cres originally. On this were two valuable water-powers, on 
which he built flour-mills of great capacity for those days. Much of the land 
was splendidly timbered, and a sawmill was put up to work up oak, elm, maple, 
walnut, ash and other lumber for the local market. There were cooper shops 
to furnish barrels for the flour mills. A country store and a post office were 
maintained. Mr. Heywood was the whole of the village of Venice, a short 
distance west of Sandusky. After 1S57 his principal business was in Ohio, but 
he kept bis old house on the corner of Seneca and Wells stieets, and remained 
a citizen of Buffalo til! near the close of the '70's. After selling the fine old 
house, he lived with the widow of his son Daniel in Venice and Sandusky. 
Because of his long absences from Bufralo, he became unknown to all but the 
old settlers of his time. His later acquaintances were among the Wilkesona, 


Theodore Chapin, Giles K. Coats, A. B. Campfield, A. II. 
Caryl, W. Chard, James A. Clark, W. A. Clark, H. O. 
Cowing", Grosvenor Clark. 

Thomas J. Dudley, Philo Durfee, Henry Daw, Joseph 
Dart, Jr., James De Long, George Davis, George A. 
Deuther, C. Demming. 

Chas. \V. Evans, James C. Evans, John B. Evans, Joseph 
S. Eckley, D. Eckley, Jr., E. D. Efner, Wm. H. E. Eckley. 

William Fiske, Watson A. Fox, J. Fleeharty, Samuel D. 
Flagg, Rinaldo Farr, George A. French. 

Jno. M. Griffith, D. F. Gray, S. F. Gelston, A. G. Gridley, 
H. Garrett. 

Albert Hayden, S. W. Howell, H. E. Howard, S. B. 
Hunt, James Hollister, George W. Holt, R. H. Heywood, 
Wm. Hollister, Azel Hooker, E. Hayward, I. M. Hubbard, 
Addison Hills, R. L. Howard, R. Hollister, Ora L. Hol- 
brook, M. S. Hawley, Judson Harmon, Chester Hitchcock, 
John Hollister, S. W. Hawes, Horace Hunt, H. C. Hay- 
ward, J. M. Hutchinson. 

A. W. Johnson, Sherman S. Jewett, Miles Jones, Hiram 
Johnson, E. R. Jewett, Walter Joy. 

John L. Kimberly, H. M. Kinne, William Ketchum, H. 
Kelley, L. Knapp. 


Fillmores, Sheltons, Burwells, Shumways. and the older members of St. Paul's 
Church. He was Dr. Shelton's right-hand man for many years, and the largest 
contributor to the erection of the building. The black-walnut lumber for the 
interior finish came from his land in Erie Co., Ohio. lie was senior warden 
of St. Paul's for 2$ years. He was president of the Buffalo Savings Bank, 
1848-1859, and a member of the Historical Society. I remember attending a 
meeting of the Historical Society with him, I think in 1864, at which Mr. 
Fillmore presided and Dr. Morton of Hartford, Conn., made a passionate de- 
fence of his claim to be the discoverer of chloroform. 

"He was a Henry Clay Whig and afterwards an ardent Republican, but 
never desired political employment. He possessed a remarkable power of seiz- 
ing the meat of a statement or argument and deciding promptly upon the thine* 
to be done. His letters are clear, terse and definite, lie attributed his busi- 
ness habits largely to the seven years apprenticeship he served in Worcester, 
Mass. His wit was keen 2nd abounding. If there was a funny side to 3 
thing he never failed to see it. He was a charming host, and during the life 
of his first wife his house was the resort of many persons of distinction. He 
was a very sincere Christian, who had shed all the foolishness of Puritanism, 
but not its virtues. The fluctuations of fortune had no effect on his temper. 
If he made a hundred thousand in a good year's milling, he did not go wild 
over it; if he lost as much his neighbors never heard him whine over it. 
When he turned the key to his office he left all business cares behind, and 
gave his evenings to children whom he made comrades." 

Mr. Heywood died in Sandusky, O., July 23, 1883, and was buried in Buf- 


John R. Lee, William Lovering, Jr., E. A. Lewis, Oliver 
Lee, William Laverack. 

P. S. Marsh, Thomas Murray, George A. Moore, Samuel 
L. Meech, I. Myres, F. A. McKnight, A. D. A. Miller. 

John T. Noye, John Newman, Frederick W. Newbould. 

Rufus C. Palmer, Samuel H. Pratt, William E. Peck, 
L. K. Plimpton, P. L. Parsons, Pascal P. Pratt, J. N. Pea- 
body, John Patterson, A. D. Patchin, Theodore C. Peters, 
William Prescott, John Pease, Lucius H. Pratt, Samuel 
Purdy, Geo. Palmer, A. Pinney. 

E. Root, G. B. Rich, Aaron Rumsey, Hamilton Rainey, 
O. W. Ranney, A. Robinson, H. B. Ritchie, G. Russell. 

Richard Sears, J. Saltar, Jason Sexton, H. R. Seymour, 
H. S. Seymour, H. H. Sizer, Jno. D. Shepard, Sidney 
Shepard, Joseph Stringham. Isaac Sherman, Noah P. 
Sprague, Jacob Seibold, O. G. Steele, E. Smith. 

Edwin Thomas, George W. Tiftt, S. Thompson, H. Tan- 
ntr, W. A. Thomson. 

G. B. Webster, Wm. R. L. Ward, R. P. Wilkins, William 
Williams, Wm. Williams, E. R. Wilkeson, Jno. Wilkeson, 
George B. Walbridge, G. T. Williams, Henry J. Warren, 
G. R. Wilson, E. S. Warren. 

III. The Business Situation in the '40's. 

It is worth while to record some phases of the business 
situation that then engaged the attention of this new Board 
of Trade. The lake and canal interests were developing at 
a tremendous rate, and the Merchants' Exchange building 
had filled up with tenants even before the dedication. In 
the preceding April the Buffalo Fire & Marine Insurance 
Company, of which Mr. Heywood was a director, and IT. 
Shumway the president, had moved from their old office at 
Main and the Terrace into fine new quarters in the Prime- 
street exchange. Captain Ebenezer P. Dorr, and his friend, 
Capt. D. P. Dobbins, had offices there. James S. Leavitt 
established his bookbindery on an upper floor, and Robert 
T. Foy, set up a printing-office ; while Calvin F. S. Thomas, 


afterwards of Jewett, Thomas & Go., opened his printing 
office and bindery in the third story. The Exchange was a 
busy center of many industries, most of which were in some 
way related to the business "on the dock." 

There, commercial interests were rapidly expanding. The 
forwarding business was growing by leaps and bounds, with 
the development of the West. Chicago's population w r as 
then about 12,000; and her grain shipments in 1844 are 
given as one and a half million bushels of wheat; no oats, 
rye or barley. Vessels were still carrying provisions, flour 
and other means of subsistence to the West. Furs and skins 
were no unusual items in the cargoes unloaded on the wharf 
at Buffalo. Early in 1846, 40,000 muskrat skins were un- 
loaded loose (not baled) on the docks. 

In 1844 Buffalo boasted a population of 26,503. Three 
years before this date the tonnage of the lakes, as licensed 
at the several districts, was as follows : 

Buffalo 14,991 tons 

Detroit 11,432 " 

Cleveland 9,5*4 " 

Oswego 8,346 " 

Sackett's Harbor 3,633 " 

Sandusky 2,643 " 

Mackinac 470 " 

Niagara 230 " 


Chicago, it will be noted, dees not appear at all. The 
vessels then enrolled at Buffalo, and their tonnage, were of 
the followinq: classes : 


Steamboats, 24 7,642 tons 

Schooners, 53 5,043 " 

Brigs, 9 1,662 " 

Ships, 2 644 " 

H,99i " 


The Buffalo Board of Trade was the pioneer organization 
of its kind in the Great Lakes region. In fact, there are but 
six in the Unite'd States which are older. Oldest of all on 
the American continent is the New York T^ahiber of Com- 
merce, which dates from 1768. Fifty-three years later, in 
1821, the merchants of Baltimore established a Board of 
Trade, which has been continuous ever since. A similar or- 
ganization was formed in Philadelphia in 1833; in New 
Orleans in 1834, in Boston in 1836, and in Cincinnati in 
1839. Then came Buffalo in 1844. With the development 
of the West and the increase of shipments, the movement 
for organization spread rapidly. In 1847 the business men 
of Cleveland and of Detroit effected organizations on lines 
similar to those laid down by Buffalo. The Albany Board 
of Trade came into existence the same year. The next year 
Chicago joined the list. The year 1849 added Oswego and 
Toledo. Pittsburg waited until 1853. In 1865, the initia- 
tive having been taken by Detroit (embodied in a resolution 
of February 28th, and on a call issued by that Board, May 
25, 1865) the first National Board of Trade convention was 
held in that city, July 11, 1865; though it was not until 
June, 1868, at Philadelphia, that the permanent organization 
of the National Board of Trade was effected. Buffalo's 
part in that work will be narrated presently. 

When the Buffalo Board of Trade came into existence a 
paramount question was the enlargement of the harbor. The. 
natural harbor had been extended by various slips, especially 
Commercial Slip, which was the outlet of the Erie Canal. 
Most of this work was built by the State. Prime Slip, orig- 
inally called Thompson's Cut, was an exception, being a 
private interest, One of the first matters which engaged the 
attention of the young Board of Trade was the construction 
of the Main and Hamburg canal. In 1847, m response to 
an invitation from the Common Council of Buffalo, seven 
members of the State Canal Board visited Buffalo and in- 
spected the territory through which it was proposed to cut 
the Main and Hamburg. The whole local system of slips 
and basins was under consideration ; and although records 
are lacking, there can be no doubt that the enterprising men 


of the Board of Trade impressed upon the State Board the 
growing needs of the shipping interests of Buffalo. With- 
out entering at length into the history of these slips and 
basins, now for the most part abandoned and filled, it may 
be recorded in passing that the principal one of them, the 
Main and Hamburg, was put under contract in June, 1848, 
but was not ready for use until the spring of 1852. The 
Clark & Skinner Canal, commenced as a private enterprise, 
passed under State control in 1843. The Erie and Ohio 
basins, with their connecting slips, were constructed in 1S48- 
'50, though somewhat changed in later years. The Evans 
Slip or "ship canal," as it was called in the earlier years, 
was constructed in 1831-34, by private enterprise. Coit 
Slip was also built at private expense. Of the slips above 
mentioned, the Main and Hamburg was finally abandoned 
and wholly filled, 1901, and several of the minor waterways 
have been obliterated. Prime Slip, 40 feet wide, was an 
important feature of the harbor when the Merchants' Ex- 
change was erected on its bank. It was filled up during the 
late '6o's, and its site is now covered with various structures. 

The most important feature of harbor enlargement, un- 
dertaken at the time of which we write, was the construction 
of the Blackwell or City Ship Canal, laid out southerly from 
Buffalo Creek, from a point near the old lighthouse to the 
south channel. Some such extension of the harbor had been 
projected as early as 1836, but definite action dates from 
1847. The canal was completed and brought into use in 
1850. In 1873 ft was widened to 140 feet and deepened to 
15 feet; and in 18S3 it was extended by the Buffalo Creek 
Railway Company through the "Tifft farm'' lands, occupied 
by the Lehigh Valley Railroad coal and ore docks. 

Thus it is seen that in the years immediately following 
the formation of the Board of Trade, the harbor of Buffalo, 
the chief scene of its activity, was remade and more than 
doubled in capacity. 

From 1825 to 1S45 the Erie Canal had practically gone 
through a continuous enlargement. The Constitutional Con- 
vention of 1846 opened the way for further enlargement. 


It was an era of unprecedented canal construction. In 
New York State, up to 1846, fifty-three canal companies had 
been incorporated. Most of these were ventures entered 
upon by men who, stimulated by the success of the Erie 
Canal, sought to share in the profits of a toll-collecting en- 
terprise. Many of these undertakings came to nought. 
Others became important parts of the canal system of the 
State; but the feature of tolls engaged the attention of 
boards of trade and legislators, of shippers and politicians, 
passing through many phases until finally done away with 
in 1883. 

Canal construction was by no means peculiar to New 
York State. Other commonwealths, notably Pennsylvania 
and Ohio, were at this period well-nigh as active in develop- 
ing artificial waterways. One of these, looked upon by the 
Buffalo Board of Trade as destined materially to affect the 
harbor interests and trade of Buffalo, was the extension of 
the Pennsylvania Canal from Beaver on the Ohio, 28 miles 
below Pittsburg, to Erie, Pa., on Lake Erie, 136 miles. This 
canal was opened Dec. 2, 1844, on which day three boats 
laden with Chenango valley coal from Mercer Co., Pa., 
reached Lake Erie. It was the most direct communication 
Buffalo had as yet had with Pittsburg; and it promised not 
only a new and cheapened coal supply ( the vast anthracite 
business of the Lakes had not yet begun), but a useful route 
for bringing hither the sugar, molasses and cotton of Louisi- 
ana. Something of this service it did for a time perform ; 
but its profitable career, like that of so many other canals, 
was before many years cut short by the railroads. 

The New York State work, so far as relates to the har- 
bor, was confined to the canal system. Buffalo's Board of 
Trade became the nucleus around which the citizens rallied 
in appeals to the Federal Government for harbor appropria- 
tions. The year the Board of Trade was formed the River 
and Harbor bill, appropriating $50,000 for Buffalo, passed 
both Houses only to be "pocketed" by President Tyler to the 
deep disgust of all who were interested in business on Buf- 
falo Creek. Not only was the harbor shallow, but it was 
narrow, and its waterways were perpetually choked bv many 


craft. Not only did the small canal-boats swarm at every 
dock, but the lake carriers themselves were small in tonnage 
and many in number. In- the season of 1843, tne ^ a ^ e ar " 
rivals at and departures from Buffalo were 5884, though 
the total tonnage was only 49,356, and this included some 
50 steamboats. When the Board of Trade was organized 
only one elevator — the pioneer Dart — stood on Buffalo 
Creek, and even when running its best its two-quart buckets 
could only lift into its bins 55,000 bushels, which was the 
limit of its capacity. In 1846 it was enlarged to twice that 
capacity, and two more elevators, the City and the Buffalo, 
were built, and gradually the vast array of these leviathans 
of trade, looming more vast and more numerous with every 
year, transformed the harbor of Buffalo into the mightiest 
storehouse of grain on earth. 

Those early years of the Board of Trade were peculiarly 
important, for it was the era of many radical changes. The 
steam elevator replaced the throng of grain-handlers who 
in the early days lifted the cargoes on their backs. At this 
time, too, the propeller arrived, to put an end to the suprem- 
acy of sailing-craft. The first propeller, the Vandalia, built 
at Oswego, steamed into Buffalo harbor in 1842. In a year 
or two the Samson and the Hercules followed — and another 
chapter was begun in lake-forwarding. But it was still the 
time of small things ; of small shipments, of slow communi- 
cation. "Morse's magnetic telegraph'' was new, uncertain 
and expensive, and reached but few places ; it took years to 
bring it into common use in routine matters of business. It 
was still the time of state bank issues, of wildcat and coun- 
terfeit currency, of uncertain and fluctuatiiig values. And 
not until Russeli Hey wood put his grain boxes in the Ex- 
change rotunda, where samples could be seen and judged, 
could purchasers buy without being compelled to perambu- 
late the docks in search of cargoes. 

These glimpses of business conditions in the '4o's help 
one to realize the relation of the young Board of Trade to 
the community. Its specific objects are pretty well indicated 
in President Heywood's inaugural address. Definite rules 
for the inspection and grading of grain were in due time 


adopted, and the members protected each other by agreeing 
upon a uniform scale of fees or commissions for buying- or 
selling grain or produce. The business acts of every mem- 
ber were subject to investigation by the Board of Directors ; 
and it is but just to record that in its more than sixty years 
of continuous and steadily-growing activity, acts of rascal- 
ity have been so few as to be a wholly negligible matter in 
this review. On the contrary, membership in the Buffalo 
Board of Trade — under that or under its later-day names — 
has ever been (generally speaking) a guarantee of enter- 
prise, of public spirit, of business integrity and trustworthi- 

IV. An Early Triumph — The St. Clair Flats Canal. 

The year 1854 brought to Buffalo a new form of govern- 
ment. It was as distinct a milestone in the city's progress 
as was 1832, the year of incorporation. The city was en- 
larged by annexing Black Rock, the number of wards was 
increased from live to thirteen, of aldermen from ten to 
twenty-six. The old Market House and City Hall on the 
Terrace was torn down, and the seat of government was 
moved to the Franklin-street buildings which were razed 
when the present City and County Hall was finished in 
1876. It was a year of much building. In 1854 a fire had 
swept through the Canal-street neighborhood, consuming 
many wooden buildings, and now this district, between the 
canal and the Buffalo river, began to be rebuilt in brick. 
Many of the old brick buildings in that section date from 
1854 or thereabouts. On Buffalo Creek there were now ten 
elevators : Brown's, Hatch's, Evans & Dunbar's, Fish's, 
Seymour & Wells', Dart's, Sterling's, Richmond's, Ilolley & 
Johnson's, and Hollister's ; with a total storage capacity of 
1,550,000 bushels. On the lakes, steam had virtually sup- 
planted sailing craft, though the latter were in use, less and 
less, for many years thereafter. 

The St. Clair Flats were the terror of vessel-men and 
shippers. During the season of 1854, vessels paid for light- 
erage, damages by collision, etc., while aground on the 


Flats, the sum of $660,126.56, with a total detention of 5566 
days! Small wonder that Buffalo's Board of Trade, on 
whose members a large part of this loss fell, was exasper- 
ated at the failure of the General Government to provide a 
proper channel, and decided to take the initiative itself. 

The morning of March 28, 1855, was an important date 
in the history of the Board of Trade. At the Corn Ex- 
change on Central Wharf, that morning, President Hazard 
brought up the subject of improvement of navigation 
through the St. Clair Flats. It was already an old theme, 
but more and more, vessel-men and shippers felt that some- 
thing must be done. Several propositions had been made. 
Mr. Hazard estimated that the value of vessels then owned 
in Buffalo was $1,250,000, and one suggestion was that this 
capital should pay an assessment of one per cent., or $12,500, 
towards keeping the channel open, and that the vessel in- 
terests of other lake cities should do the same. The value 
of all vessels engaged in upper lake trade was put at 
$4,000,000, which at one per cent., would give $40,000, suf- 
ficient to keep a clear channel during the whole season. 

Other suggestions were made. Watson A. Fox proposed 
a stock company, with a capital of $25,000 or $50,000, for 
the purpose of dredging the Flats. Congress might be peti- 
tioned at its next session to refund the money expended by 
the company, or grant a tract of land which could be sold to 
reimburse the stockholders. Cyrus Clarke proposed that 
each vessel should subscribe say $100 or $200 towards keep- 
ing the channel open. Other ideas were put forth, but 
finally the matter was referred to a committee, who were in- 
structed to correspond with Boards of Trade in other lake 
cities, with a view to holding a convention of vessel owners, 
in Buffalo on April 18th. 

At another meeting, the next day, Mr. Watson A. Fox 
offered the following: 

Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed by the chair, to 
whom shall be referred the question of improving the navigation of 
the St. Clair Flats. That it shall be the duty of said committee to 
draft a circular, to be addressed to the several Boards of Trade at 
other lake cities, requesting them to appoint committees to procure 


subscriptions, at once, for the purpose of raising money to dredge 
the St. Clair Flats; and further, that the said several boards send 
delegates to a convention to be held at Buffalo on the 16th day of 
April, who shall be prepared to report the amount of funds sub- 
scribed for that purpose. That said circular be publibhed in the 
daily papers of the city, and that said committee be instructed to 
procure all the information they can in regard to the probable cost 
of dredging a suitable channel, and which of the several channels it 
may be best to select for that purpose. 

This resolution was adopted, and President Hazard 
named for the committee Watson A. Fox, John J. Hender- 
son, O. W. Ranney, J. C. Evans and H. C. Walker. An- 
other resolution created a committee of five who were to 
solicit subscriptions "to defray the expenses of sending one 
or more delegates to Albany, to urge by all honorable ex- 
ertions or influence the passage of the bill now before the 
Legislature, for the imposition of tolls on railroads." This 
last proposition was vigorously opposed by certain members, 
especially by J. G. Deshler and Cyrus Clarke. Hiram Niles 
was chief spokesman for its advocates, and it finally pre- 

The circular which Mr. Fox's committee prepared and 
distributed, fairly stated the case in the following para- 
graphs : 

As the General Government has failed to furnish funds for the 
dredging of the St. Clair Flats, through the omission of the Presi- 
dent to sign the bill passed for that purpose at the last session of 
Congress, it has become necessary that it should be done by private 
means and private enterprise. The damage sustained annually by 
those interested in the navigation of the lakes, is far greater than 
the expense of the work; and we hope the public spirit of our citi- 
zens will prompt them to give in defraying the expense, and that 
they will designate in a liberal subscription the amount they are 
willing to contribute toward the work, and appoint a committee to 
meet at Buffalo. . . . 

We think that the dredging of the channel, as it should be, will 
cost at least $35,000. . . . 

The circular also contained the assurance that Buffalo 
could be counted on for $10,000, her full proportion for 
prosecuting the work. 


The Chicago Board of Trade acted promptly, named 
delegates to the Buffalo convention and set about raising its 
subscription. Milwaukee did likewise, taking $3,000 as its 
due share to be raised. 

The St. Clair Flats convention, as it was called, met in 
Buffalo on April 19, 1855. Mr. Hill of Chicago was its 
president ; John J. Henderson of Buffalo its secretary. Sev- 
eral of the lake cities were represented by delegations. Buf- 
falo, Chicago and Milwaukee were ready with their sub- 
scriptions. Oswego offered no money and objected to the 
method proposed, but her disapproval in nowise affected 
the progress of the undertaking. Detroit was slow in act- 
ing, but gave assurances of help. With $18,000 pledged, 
Mr. Hazard of Buffalo was made treasurer of the fund. 
Mr. John J. Henderson, secretary of the Buffalo Board, had 
visited Quebec to ascertain what could be counted on from 
the Canadian Government, and reported that that Govern- 
ment would probably assume at least one-third of the cost 
if that did not exceed $15,000. Details relating to the chan- 
nel to be improved, and other matters, were discussed and 
settled with commendable promptness. A dredging com- 
mittee was chosen, and it was decided to go to work at once 
with the money pledged. Frank Williams, a civil engineer 
of Buffalo, was employed by the Board and went at once to 
the St. Clair. On May 3d he reported to the Board, recom- 
mending the improvement of the south channel. His recom- 
mendations were accepted, proposals were invited, and 
dredging promptly begun. 1 

It was a needed work, energetically undertaken and car- 
ried out in a prompt and businesslike way. Flad it never 
accomplished anything else, the Buffalo Board of Trade 

1. In 1842 a survey of the St. Clair Flats was made by Capt. Macomb, 
U. S. Topographical Engineers, and in 1852 another survey was made by the 
same officer and Capt. Caufield. These surveys showed that no changes of 
consequence had taken place in the channel during that period. Mr. Williams 
made careful examination of the North, Middle and South Channels, and rec- 
ommended the last-named for permanent improvement 1 . He proposed a channel 
for iji feet of water, and figured the expense for 125 feet wide, for 200 feet 
wide, and for 300 feet wide, the location being substantially that, recommended 
by Capt. Macomb. Mr. Williams' report to the Buffalo Board of Trade was 
printed in the Buffalo Morning Advertiser, May 7, 1855. 


would have amply justified its existence. It was said by an 
enthusiast at the time of the convention, "an investment in 
the St. Clair Flats subscription fund would be as remunera- 
tive as in the best railroad or bank stock in the country." 

At the annual meeting of this same profitable year, held 
March 12th, the Board adopted resolutions, recommending 
to its members, and to other Boards of Trade on the lakes, 
to establish and encourage regular shipping offices for sail- 
ors, as was done in New York and Boston, and have regular 
shipping papers on all vessels, as required by lav/. This was 
in order to put an end to abuses which grew out of the pre- 
vailing custom of engaging and shipping sailors through the 
vessel captains. A month later, it recommended the enact- 
ment of a law requiring railroads in New York State "to 
make weekly and yearly returns of all descriptions of prod- 
uce received and transported by them from lake ports, and 
delivered at tide water ; also the quantity and description of 
all freight received at tide-water, and delivered at lake 
ports." It also favored a bill, then pending in the Legisla- 
ture, imposing a toll on railroads, which it was thought 
would tend to equalize things with the tolls-burdened canals. 

V. Incorporation — A New Beginning. 

The first period in the history of Buffalo's Board of 
Trade was that of its occupancy of the Prime-street build- 
ing. Its first dozen years or so of life cannot be called no- 
table, although, as we have seen, it originated one important 
project and shared in others. In July, 1847, was keld at 
Chicago, the first River and Harbor Convention which had 
a national character. It was a well- conceived effort to 
rouse the Federal Government to action in aid of the har- 
bors and channels of the Great Lakes. New York State 
was ably represented, and a prominent Buffalo man, James 
L. Barton, was temporary chairman of the convention on 
July 5th, the opening day. Little immediate result followed, 
but the convention, as an expression of opinion, was the 
opening wedge of a great work. 


At the second annual election of the Buffalo Board, Mr. 
Hey wood was reelected president ; and he was again chosen 
at the third election, which was the first held in the new 
building-, March 10, 1846. 1 

In the spring of 1855 rooms in the Merchants' Exchange 
were newly fitted up for the Board of Trade. During the 
preceding season they had not been kept open, nor had the 
Board held daily meetings. Now, however, it was proposed 
to do better. "The rooms," said the Buffalo Commercial of 
April 19th, "which are now to be kept open daily, are in 
every respect worthy of the important interests to which 
they are to be devoted. 

"The rooms are two, having tables, on which are placed books 
for the entry of the current exports and imports of the port, daily 
market reports, and for the display of samples, and an octagonal desk 
for writing purposes, while the newspaper files hang upon the hooks 
about the walls of the rooms, in which are placed the various com- 
mercial papers of the country, taken by the board. This last arrange- 
ment is peculiarly an excellent one. V- ,r hen reference to a paper is 
wished, the file is taken from the hook, the reader sits down, peruses 
it to his satisfaction and then replaces it upon the hook. Thus mu- 
tilation or loss is rendered next to impossible. 

"The walls are beautifully papered, and adorned with busts of 
Clay and Webster. The Moors are covered with oilcloth, and neatly- 
finished chairs and divans are ranged about, sufficient to accommo- 
date a large assemblage. Altogether, nothing like it has ever before 
been enjoyed by the Board of Trade of this city, and for the details 
of the arrangement they are indebted to the excellent taste of Mr. 
C. D. Gibson. The only evil results to be apprehended are, that the 
neatness and comfort of the place will tempt members to frequently 
resort to it, and, perhaps, over-speculate !'' 

In 1856 the election was not held until May 6th, when 
M. S. Hawley was made president, J. Parker first vice- 
president, W. A. Fox second vice-president, and the follow- 
ing directors were, chosen: IT. M. Kinne, S. K. Worth- 
ington, S. W. Whiting, D. N. Tuttle, William Fleming, 
H. A. Smith, O. Bugbee, J. B. Griffin, W. D. Walbridge I 

and Samuel Morgan. 

1. A complete list of the presidents and years of their service is appended 
to this sketch. 


During this year, after much discussion, it was decided 
that the original constitution and by-laws were no longer 
adapted to the conditions of trade that had developed, and 
steps were taken for incorporation. Application was made 
to the Legislature, and on March 3, 1857, a charter was ob- 
tained. The original incorporators were Russell H. Hey- 
wood, George Palmer, Jason Parker, John T. Noye, Sidney 
Shepard, H. Rainey, J. C. Evans, G. T. Williams, H. Roop, 
Bronson C. Rumsey, William G. Fargo, L. K. Plimpton, 
G. R. Wilson, H. Roop, Myron P. Bush, A. Robinson, H. 
Niles, H. A. Smith, J. R. Lee, P. L. Sternberg, Richard H. 
Sherman and Carlos Cobb. The first meeting for the elec- 
tion of officers under the new charter was held March 7, 
1857, at which George S. Hazard was elected president. 

The charter under which the Board took new lease of life 
in 1857, carried, with the usual provisions, a few stipulations 
of special interest. It specified that the capital stock should 
be not less than $10,000, the trustees having power to in- 
crease it to $100,000. The snares were fixed at $25 each. 
The annual election was to be held on the second Tuesday 
in April of each year. A provision was made for life mem- 
berships and also for permanent memberships. The trustees 
were empowered to invest the capital stock and other funds 
of the Board in bonds and mortgages on unencumbered real 
estate within the State and in other approved securities, and 
the following stipulation was made : 

"When the said corporation may have accumulated the 
sum of $50,000 ... it may keep the same securely in- 
vested as a permanent fund and apply the excess of accu- 
mulations to the payment of interest and redemption of the 
outstanding stock, or donate the sum to charitable purposes ; 
providing, however, the said trustees shall have secured 
suitable apartments to be used for the ordinary purposes of 
the said Board of Trade." 

An Arbitration Committee was provided for to whose de- 
cisions matters in controversy were to be submitted. 

The by-laws, approved May, 1857, made the usual pro- 
vision for election of officers and specified their duties. 
They also provided for the election of a salaried secretary, 



whose duties were specified at length, one of them being the 
collection of statistical matter for annual publication, but it 
was added, "no person shall be eligible to the office of secre- 
tary who shall be connected with a newspaper press in this 
city as reporter, editor or proprietor, unless the newspaper 
be published under the auspices and control of the Board of 

The annual statement for some preceding years had been 
compiled and edited by the commercial editors of various 
Buffalo papers. Mr. John J. Henderson, commercial editor 
of the Daily Republic, and later of the Democracy, had pre- 
pared it for some years. In 1855, David Wentworth of the 
Daily Republic compiled it. Mr. Henderson, who had be- 
come secretary of the Board of Trade by 1855, was serving 
Buffalo in that capacity and as commercial editor of the 
Courier in '57, when the new charter came into effect. 
From this time on, for some years, he appears to have 
dropped newspaper connection and devoted himself to his 
duties as secretary of the Board of Trade. That he was 
well equipped for that task the annual reports which he pre- 
pared well prove. The sixth annual statement of the "Trade 
and Commerce of Buffalo" which Mr. Henderson compiled 
for the year 1857, is an especially valuable review of busi- 
ness conditions in that year of great financial crisis. Al- 
though it brought bankruptcy or suspension to many houses 
here as in many other business centers in the country, the 
men of the Board of Trade weathered the adverse period 
and instead of lamenting over the disasters of the past, 
bravely addressed themselves to the problems of the imme- 
diate present. We find in the report of the Board for that 
year that great hopes were placed upon the prospective con- 
struction of the international bridge across the Niagara be- 
tween Black Rock and Fort Erie, and especially upon the 
expansion of business likely to follow the completion of the 
Erie Canal enlargement. It was an era of railroad activity, 
many new lines being projected, and some construction un- 
der way. And while we find the Buffalo Board of Trade 
anticipating the increase of business that would follow canal 
enlargement, we find it also advocating a reduction of tolls, 


as indeed it continued to do until finally all tolls were abol- 

The decade of the '6o's saw little substantial growth in 
the organization. It was a trying time for all commercial 
enterprises and the Board of Trade did well to continue to 
live. Even in these discouraging years, the organization 
originated some important movements and shared in others. 
On April 10, i860, Chicago's grain standard was adopted. 
It was not, however, until June 12, 1877, that a call board 
was established in the Exchange room. 

On March 14, 1862, the Board addressed Congress with 
a memorial, urging the location of a national armory at or 
near Chicago. In doing this, it shared in a very general 
movement on the part of the commercial bodies of the coun- 
try. Home matters continued to receive its attention year 
after year, usually in the form of petitions to the Common 
Council to dredge Buffalo Creek and improve the harbor, 
or iii the sending of delegations to Albany to promote canal 

VI. On Central Wharf. 

On Thursday morning, June 26, 1862, the Board of 
Trade took possession of its new quarters in a building 
owned by the George C. White estate on Central Wharf. 
The lease ran for five years at $750 per annum. The room 
itself, on the second floor, was a large one, extending from 
the dock to Prime Street, being 94 feet deep by 34 feet wide, 
with a ceiling 14 feet above the floor. Handsomely fur- 
nished, well lighted and ventilated, it became at once a popu- 
lar place of resort with merchants, vessel owners and busi- 
ness men generally. 

At 11 o'clock on the day named the place was thronged, 
not the least attraction being what was described in a paper 
of the day as "an elegant and bountiful collation of meats, 
fruits, wines, etc." Mr. George C. White, president of 
White's Bank, presented to the Board five baskets of cham- 
pagne, sending also a note in which he proposed this toast : 


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"The Buffalo Board of Trade. May its meetings always 
be harmonious and mutually advantageous, and its members 
always prosperous and happy." 

This sentiment was vociferously hailed ; and President 
George S. Hazard, opening the first bottle, poured for ex- 
President Millard Fillmore, Hon. N. K. Hall and Dean 
Richmond, who sat beside him, and filling his own glass, 
rose and drank with the guests. 

President Hazard's speech on this occasion shows that 
the Board of Trade had fallen into a decline, either of in- 
terest, of usefulness or of finances — or as was probably the 
fact, of all three. "We have met here today," he said to 
the crowding guests, "to resuscitate the Board of Trade, to 
invigorate it with new life, to incite it to increased useful- 
ness, and to dedicate this beautiful and appropriate hall to 
Trade and Commerce. I congratulate you," he continued, 
"on this auspicious commencement of a new era. It be- 
tokens a determination to reestablish this institution on a 
reliable and permanent foundation, and as it was the first 
organization of this character west of the city of New York, 
let it be your endeavor to make it first in usefulness." 

Mr. Hazard continued at some length, pointing out the 
advantages bound to accrue to Buffalo from an active Board 
of Trade; defining the objects and purposes of such an or- 
ganization, which he said were not only the daily routine of 
'Change, "but to establish and promote equitable principles 
and laws of trade, to reform abuses, correct inconvenient 
and useless customs, and establish those more in accordance 
with the spirit of the age; to establish a tribunal for settling 
disputes among its members without resort to expensive and 
vexatious litigation; and, generally, to protect the interests 
of the mercantile classes." Pie passed on to give his con- 
ception of certain daily details of such an organization : 

"There should be a daily exhibit of the state of your 
market as well as the markets of those cities with which you 
are in constant intercourse ; the import and export as well 
as inland movement of all the great staples of the country ; 
weekly and monthly statements of receipts and shipments ; 
and yearly returns of the general business, commercial, 


manufacturing and banking, of your city, and in fact all 
statistical matter which can be of any use to the members of 
your Board." 

He made a forceful application of the adage, "In union 
there is strength." It was a time in our national history 
when any suggestion of "union" stirred the heart of the 
Northern patriot, and Mr. Hazard's admonitions were 
cheered with a fervor which was deepened by the thought, 
at the back of every man's mind, of his country's crisis and 
what it might signify. 

No address on such an occasion would have been com- 
plete without reference to the growth of Buffalo's commerce. 
Mr. Hazard reminded his hearers that twenty-five years 
before, the entire receipts of breadstuff s at the port of Buf- 
falo amounted to only about one million bushels. Ten years 
later the receipts had increased to thirteen millions of bush- 
els. The next decade gave us over twenty-two millions of 
bushels; and five years later, bringing us down to 1861, the 
returns showed the "enormous receipt" — as it then seemed — 
of fifty-eight millions of bushels. "As no other port on the 
face of the earth," added the speaker, "can compare with 
this, Buffalo stands unrivalled." And again the crowd — 
the men who had in good measure brought about this state 
of things — cheered their president, as they had good right 
to do. 

It was in fact, a jolly "recuscitation," and the exercises 
ran on for hours with so many pleasant features that it took 
the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser two days to complete its 
report of them. Ex-President Fillmore's health being pro- 
posed, he was forced to speak. He told of what he had seen 
in the way of commercial exchanges abroad, and added the 
usual congratulations to Buffalo. 1 Other toasts and speeches 
followed, among the speakers being Henry W. Rogers, 
George B. Hibbard and William Williams. President 
Hazard no doubt observing that the prevailing state of mind 
was favorable to a little business, reminded the assemblage 
that there was not a dollar in the treasury and that the 

1. For Mr. Fillmore's remarks on this occasion, see XI, Pubs. Buf. Hist. Soc, 


Board needed new members ; whereupon 103 new names 
were affixed to the secretary's books and over $1000 paid 
in as dues. 

It was not until January 15, 1863, that telegraph wires 
were extended to the Board of Trade rooms. A merchant 
of today would be amused and amazed at the methods em- 
ployed before the "wire" came into common business use. 
Even after its introduction very slight use was made of the 
telegraph for ordinary business transactions for many years. 

In this year of 1863, the flour dealers of Buffalo asked 
for a flour inspector, to settle their differences and establish 
a standard. On April 16th, also of this year, a standard bill 
of lading was adopted and a Conciliation Committee was 
created to settle differences arising among the members. In 
the next dozen years probably not more than half a dozen 
cases arose of serious difference. Some of these were ami- 
cably adjusted, while in one or two cases members were 

From time to time the Board renewed its lease of the 
Central Wharf rooms and although the growth of the insti- 
tution hardly seems to have warranted it, yet steps were 
early taken towards the securing of a building for the 
Board's own use. 

In 1870 William Thurstone as secretary published his 
first annual statement of the trade and commerce of Buf- 
falo. It was the first of the long and valuable series of sta- 
tistical pamphlets which he prepared, and the first official 
report of the kind sent out by the Board since 1865. The 
earlier reports, compiled by John J. Henderson (and in 1854 
by David Wentworth) had been followed in the early '60' s 
by the work of E. H. Walker of the Buffalo Commercial 
Advertiser. The statements for i863-'65 were prepared by 
him; from that date until 1870, although one or more of 
the Buffalo newspapers printed annual reviews of the year's 
commerce, the Board of Trade does not appear to have ac- 
cepted them as official. Mr. Thurstone's report for 1869, a 
thick pamphlet of 152 pages, packed with commercial sta- 
tistics, marked the resumption of a series of reports which 
continues unbroken to this day. 


In July, 1869, a daily commercial circular was issued un- 
der the sanction of the Buffalo Board of Trade, and con- 
tinued until the close of navigation; after which it was for 
some time published as a weekly. This method was fol- 
lowed in other years. Copies were furnished to other 
Boards of Trade and Chambers of Commerce in the United 
States and Canada; its foreign exchanges included the 
Mark Lane Express and the English and Foreign Trade 
Gazette of Liverpool. The Buffalo Board of Trade was the 
first to issue such an official publication. 

At this time the Board of Trade had 393 members, of 
whom 186 held stock. The income received from members 
in 1868 was $4210, and the corporation stock was invested 
in two $10,000 Government bonds. The building proposition 
was laid aside so far as any practical steps were taken until 
some years later; and in June, 1870, the lease of the old 
quarters was renewed for another five years. 

The new by-laws, passed April 21, 1868, were much more 
explicit than those they superceded, on the powers and du- 
ties of officers, the manner in which elections should be held, 
and other matters. They provided standing committees on 
finance, reference and appeal and arbitration, and specified 
their duties. To join the Board, an applicant had to be nom- 
inated by two or more stockholders of the corporation, or 
other members, pay the annual dues and sign a paper agree- 
ing to abide by the rules and regulations as prescribed. 
Members could be expelled by a three-fourths vote of the 

One step taken in 1872, worthy of record, related to the 
inspection of grain. On April 22d a committee of the 
Board, consisting of Jason Parker, George S. Hazard and 
R. R. Buck, to whom the matter had been delegated, re- j 

ported in favor of the adoption of a uniform system of in- 
spection, "more especially for cargoes shipped at ports 
where no inspection exists; that a suitable inspector be ap- 
pointed, and that the same standards for inspection be 
adopted as those now in force at Western ports." These 
recommendations were in due time carried out. By a reso- 
lution of the Board, Sept. 18, 1874, the number of bushels 


constituting a boat-load of grain was fixed at 7,800 for 
wheat, 8,300 for corn, and 14,000 for oats. 

VII. The Board of Trade Adopts a Regiment. 

From the outbreak of the Rebellion, the Board of Trade 
found its attention more and more diverted from the ordin- 
ary channels of business to the great emergencies of the 
nation. Individually and collectively its members shared in 
the general community devotion to the recruiting and equip- 
ment of regiments. The first year of the war, with its heavy 
reverses, did not tend to increase the bulk of business; but 
it did increase and strengthen the bond of sympathy among 
the business men of Buffalo. 

Early in 1862, the 100th Regiment, New York Volun- 
teers, had left Buffalo, numbering 960 men. That regiment, 
which meant so much to the homes of Buffalo and Western 
New York, was in the thick of the fight at Fairoaks and in 
other engagements of that campaign, so that by July, 1862, 
its enrollment of 960 had been reduced to 451, rank and file. 
The fatal field of Fairoaks well nigh wrecked the 100th 
Regiment. It became a question whether it would not be 
wiped out by consolidation with other regiments and corps. 
The pride of Buffalo was touched. The regiment from its 
first recruiting had meant so much to this community, so 
many homes had given their young men to it, that it was 
but natural that there should exist a strong local desire to 
fill up the ranks and continue its organization. 

The Board of Trade took up the matter. On July 24th, 
at a special meeting held after the 'Change hour, President 
Hazard in a feeling address made a plea for raising a liberal 
war fund by subscription, to be devoted to the enlistment 
of men. At this mee f ing and at others which followed, the 
movement was at first merely an expression of the patriotic 
impulse of the community to give prompt and efficient aid to 
the Government. Before long, however, the efforts of the 
Board of Trade became centered upon this depleted Buffalo 
regiment. At a meeting on July 25th, it had been proposed 


that the Buffalo subscription be especially devoted to re- 
cruiting- the iooth Regiment and that it should be known 
as the Board of Trade Regiment. It took a day or two for 
the suggestion to strike root, but on July 29th the War 
Committee, to which this proposition and others related to 
the war fund had been referred, made a report which was 
destined to produce great results. "In view," said this com- 
mittee, "of the gallant conduct of the iooth Regiment in 
the recent severe battle of Fairoaks, its necessities in con- 
sequences of heavy losses of men, with no friendly hand 
stretched out to save their dearly-earned reputation from 
oblivion, your committee would earnestly recommend the 
adoption of the iooth Regiment by the Buffalo Board of 
Trade, and that prompt measures be taken to fill its ranks 
with good able-bodied men." 

The meeting at which this report was read had drawn to 
the Exchange an unusual number of citizens. The Board 
room was packed as were the open galleries adjoining", and 
when the Board by unanimous vote adopted this resolution, 
a cheer went up that carried the news the whole length of 
old Central Wharf. 

It was a moment of enthusiasm, but it was not the sort 
of enthusiasm that flares up and dies out. Before adjourn- 
ment the Board of Trade had voted that it would procure 
and present a handsome flag to the regiment, which from 
this time on was to be its own. Then began the serious 
work of getting subscriptions. Men considered what they 
could do and acted promptly. 

Charles Ensign offered his splendid new steamer, the 
Badger State, for a public excursion for the benefit of the 
fund. The Messrs. J. C. and E. T. Evans made a similar 
offer of their steamer Merchant. The first of these excur- 
sions netted $1696. Thomas Day gave four building lots in 
the park which bears his name. These found buyers at a 
substantial figure. William H. Beard, the artist, gave an 
exhibition of one of his paintings, "The March of Silenus," 
for the benefit of the fund. Henry E. Perrine pledged him- 
self to send to the front four men at his own expense. Oth- 
ers individuallv or for the elevator or various other interests 



which they represented, subscribed liberal sums of money; 
so that early in August there was available for this work of 
reconstructing" a regiment over $22,000. The list of Board 
of Trade subscriptions to this great cause, as it has been 
preserved in the records of the regiment, is as follows : 

Chas. J. Mann 

• $ 350 


Bissell & Bridgeman 

.$ 150 00 

George S. Hazard . . . 

• 350 


James G. Stevens . . . 

100 00 

Samuel J. Holley .... 



Junius S. Smith .... 

100 00 

J. M. Richmond 

A. W. Cutter 

. 500 


. 250 


G Malcolm 

100 00 


D. W. Irwin 

100 00 

A. Sherwood 

Elmore H. Walker . . 

25 00 

Kinne & Co 



D. W. Tuttle 

Jason Parker 

100 00 

S. K. Worthington . . 

100 00 

J. R. Bentley 



P. L. Sternberg 

200 00 

Van Buren & Co 



Swan & Thayer 

100 00 

Lewis B. Joy & Co. . . 

. 250 


Henry B. Miller 

100 00 

E. S. Prosser 

. 500 


Wm. C. Foster & Co. 

25 00 

Thomas Clark 

. 500 


F W. Patterson .... 

100 00 

Stewart, Graves & Co. 

. 300 


S. W. Derrick 

100 00 

D. S. Bennett ....... 

• 500 


R. C. Palmer 

100 00 

A. W. Hoiton 



A. J. Holt 

200 00 

Morse & Nelson 



A. Grote 

25 00 

John G. Deshler 



Laurens Enos 

200 00 

Nims & Gibson 



J. C. Harrison 

. 200 00 

N. C. Winslow & Co. 

- 250 


W. 0. Brown 

300 00 

H. P. Bridge 




A. L. Griffin 

100 00 

Chas. W. Wolf 

G. J. Whitney 

25 00 

F. L. Sheldon 



A. T. Blackmar 

250 00 

Lee & Scofleld 



H. A. Frink 

. 250 00 

Cyrus Clark 






E. Gilbert 

100 00 

James D. Sawyer .... 

Frank Lee 

50 00 

Wm. Petrie & Co. . . . 

D. S. Austin 

100 00 

S. S. Guthrie 

Cobb & Co 

100 00 

G. J. Heimlich 

G. C. Coit & Son .... 

150 00 

Stephen W. Howell . . 

. 400 


Richard Williams . . . 

25 00 

J. M. Matthews & Co. 



William Dickson 

100 00 

Mixer & Smith 



George Richardson . 

25 00 

C. H. Morse 



C. Vosburgh 

50 00 

Griffin & McDonald . . 



S. H. Rumrill 

100 00 

L. ¥$ Plimpton * 

»'■ 200 


Wm. Williams 

. 300 00 

S. Cary 



A. M. Johnstone .... 

50 00 

Stimpson & Grant . . . 

• 150 


P. J. Ferris 

50 00 



John L. Jewett $ ioo oo 

Win. Monteith ioo oo 

Chas. Ensign and John 

Allen for the Marine 

Elevator 500 00 

R. S. King 200 00 

E. P. Selsmer 25 00 

S. G. Cornell & Co 100 00 

Sheldon Pease & Co. . . 100 00 
Thomas Day, donation 

of 4 lots Day's Park, 

net proceeds 700 00 

Chas. Ensign, proceeds 

of excursion steamer 

Badger State, net . . . 
Wm. H. Beard, artist . 
Proceeds of Wm. H. 

Beard's picture 

"March of Silenus" . 

H. E. Howard 100 00 

Dean Richmond 500 00 

Niles Case 50 00 

Robert Montgomery . . 100 00 
Jerry Small 25 00 

1,696 00 
100 00 

50 00 

Fish & Avery $ 50 00 

Fish & Armstrong .... 50 00 

Charles Ensign 500 00 

George Urban 100 00 

M. S. Hawley 100 00 

M. R. Eames 100 00 

J. C. & E. T. Evans ... 500 00 

Myron P. Bush 250 00 

W. C. Davidson 50 00 

H. Niles & Co 100 00 

John W. Gardner 50 00 

O. N. Cfaapin 20 00 

Henry E. Perrine, sub- 
scribed 4 men which 
he sent to the front 
at his own expense . . 

Brownell & Boyd 100 00 

Cash (unknown) 5 00 

Alexander W. Harvey . 200 00 

Chas. W. Evans 250 00 

Henry Daw & Son ..... 100 00 

Williams, Fargo & Co. 500 00 
Western Transit Co... 1,50000 

W. R. Strong 100 00 

There is much in the above list that will awaken war-time 
memories for many residents of Buffalo who are still living. 
The excursion of the Badger State was a gala affair, shared 
in, as the receipts attest, by a large number of excursionists, 
who found a lake ride an agreeable way to give patriotic 
aid. William H. Beard's painting, "The March of Silenus/' 
became the property of the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, 
which is still its fortunate possessor. What Mr. Henry E. 
Perrine spent in equipping four men for the front, is not 
recorded, but obviously it was a generous subscription to 
the cause. 

The work of recruiting was vigorously taken up. Be- 
sides the regular recruiting office, a tent was set up at the 
foot of Main Street, where men were examined and enrolled. 
The following advertisement— no doubt unique among the 
documents of the Boards of Trade of any American city — 
was printed for some weeks in the Buffalo papers and helped 
to gather in the recruits. 




The 100th New York Volunteers 

400 nwi wanted 

JL *°d veteran Repimeut, nbo have bo cob'y bori 
{uemsalrri? in ail the duties and batlles from Yorklown 10 

The Board o^Trids of the City of Buffalo,. recognising 
the services of the lOOtii, have adopted it a* the " 

Board of Trade Regiment, 

*nd with muniScent liberality, b&?e sabicribed 



To induce young volunteers to enlist in the v:u worn 
100th. Ti>e fajuilics of volunteers will also te insured at- 
tention and sapport. 


Ycnr duties from the s f art Trill be 3»\s* a«-vcrv. } our 
officers 1 av<j had t-xperJenc*! Your eomrsdes are Tele- 
rang! The dear-bought lerson of learning camp Jiff for 
new regiments, tro obvuted, f*r your c~rur*u«>8 hava 
learned then and know how to live." 

The President of the United State*, the C^erala in the 
feold, Jhe Go.emcr of the Sute : prefer that thi 

Old Regiments Should ba Filled Up ! 
Join the Board ef Trade Regiment! 


Bounties Before Entering Service: 

Stite Bounty $50 

United S-.atej Bounty 25 

Premium 3 

One Month's l'ty in advance - 13 

Beard cf T.-ftde Bounty 26 

Board of Trade fremiuTi .. 3 

CiibiB adv. cc* $119 

Further liov.*lit$— On expiration «>T servi'e, $75— ICO 

«Cr»*H of Und — Medical attendance and clothing, free — 

Sobv*:*nc* and transportation fr»e 

FREEMEN I Rajiv lathe resc.e of our t&nr.tnrcen. 

Fill uj> the raak-5 and march victoi'io»*ly into Kicbmond. 

Join th&GnUant One Hundredth ! 

Bjdo. E. S. Pra;»fr, lion. S. J. Hnlley, 

Hon. J. G- Deshlor, G S. Sfasird, Esq., 

L. K. Piiroplon, Esq, S. W. Howell. E-q , 

D.S Bewsett, Esq., A G. \ViIii»usH,Riq., 

C J. Jiaco, E«q., J. M. Kichtn*nd, Enj. 

J3?" Recruiting Office oyer Miming Express Office, 
and in tb» tent at the foot of Main utrent. 

an2U6-5:ctl3 Rscrmtirg Orllcers. 


i. "History of the One Hundredth Regiment of New York State Volun- 
teers," etc., by Geo. H. Stowits, Buffalo, 1870. 12 mo., pp. 424. 

As the work of recruiting went on, the Board of Trade 
accepted gratefully the assistance of the Hon. Orlando 
Allen. From Aug. ist to Oct. 1st, 1862, 345 recruits 
were added to the regiment. Gen. Gustavus A. Scroggs, 
elected colonel of the 100th by its line officers, declined 
to serve. A young artillery officer in the regular army, 
who was highly recommended to the Buffalo Board of 
Trade and whose record President Hazard was at pains 
personally to investigate, was appointed Aug. 26th. This 
was Captain George B. Dandy, who, as colonel of the Board 
of Trade regiment, was to lead it on many a hard-fought 
field, winning for himself not only the reputation of a thor- 
ough soldier, but a commander always considerate of the 
welfare of his men and a general who enjoyed the respect 
of all who knew him. 

The story of the regiment in detail cannot appropriately 
be told here; that belongs to the military records of our 
country and has been adequately chonicled by other hands. 1 
One event, however, should be included here, because it 
forms not only a part of the history of the regiment, but a 
part of the history of the Board of Trade. On November 
16, 1862, at Gloucester Point, Virginia, formal presentation 
was made to the regiment, in the name of the Buffalo Board 
of Trade, of a beautiful flag. It had been consigned by the 
Board of Trade to the hands of the regimental chaplain, 
Captain J. B. Linn, and on Sunday morning of the date 
mentioned, the regiment being drawn up in line, Colonel J 

Dandy with his staff in front, Chaplain Linn presented the 
flag to the. Colonel with the following remarks : 

"Fellow Soldiers: The cause in which you are engaged is one 
that ever excites the greatest sympathy among our friends at home. 
I need not say how deeply they are interested in your behalf and 
success. Our country cost too dear a price to be easily sacrificed 
now. Those institutions which we all so dearly love are threatened 
with subversion. To you they look with confidence, to you they look 
for aid in her defense. To this regiment you all well know the 
Board of Trade of the city of Buffalo have recently bestowed 



especial care. With you have they cast their lot. Prove yourselves, 
then, worthy of their patronage. Prove to them that their lot has 
been cast with those who have inherited the spirit that actuated the 
associates of Washing-ton and Schuyler. In behalf, then, of the 
Board of Trade of the city of Buffalo, to assure you of their sym- 
pathy and cooperation, to arouse you to increased exertion and pa- 
triotism, I present you this flag. May it never be sullied by defeat, 
nor blighted with the mildew of treachery." 

Colonel Dandy receiving the flag from Chaplain Linn in 
a short response expressed the gratitude of his regiment to 
the Board of Trade for its beautiful gift. ''This banner, I 
believe," he said, "will never be suffered to trail in the dust. 
Should we have the high privilege of taking it into battle, 
we will endeavor to bring it back in honored safety." 

Another stand of colors was presented to the regiment, 
January 10, 1863, the tattered remnants of which, with those 
of the first flag, are preserved by the Buffalo Historical So- 

The relations of the Board to the officers and men of the 
regiment became pleasantly intimate. On January 5, 1864, 
Col. Dandy delivered an address on the Exchange floor, in 
which he reviewed the history of the regiment. Speaking 
of what the Board of Trade had done for it, he exclaimed : 
"Would to God other organizations throughout the country 
had generally followed your example ! What defeats might 
have been prevented, what disastrous routs, what toilsome 
marches, what disgraceful retreats ! You found the regi- 
ment a skeleton; you gave it heart and lungs and blood and 
brain and muscle." On February 1, 1865, the Board gave a 
public reception to the veterans of its regiment. The rooms 
were trimmed with bunting and flags, and some 200 of "the 
boys in blue," enjoyed the hospitality- of the Board and lis- 
tened to the address of President Hazard. 1 

1. There is still preserved an old visitors' register of the Board of Trade, 
in which the first entries are the names of Chicago delegates to the St. Clair 
Flats convention of April, 1855; but most of the entries are of the Civil War 
period, and many relate to the 100th Regiment. On the date of the reception 
above noted, 159 of the veterans inscribed their names. Other pages hold in- 
teresting records, e. g. t under Apr. 29, 1863, one may read: "Cyrus W. Field 
addressed the audience on the subject of the Atlantic cable"; Oct. :o, 1863, 


The generosity and patriotism of the men of the Board 
of Trade were not confined to the iooth Regiment. They 
gave thousands of dollars in aid of recruiting, or of sanitary 
and relief societies, and kindred purposes. It was a time 
when constant appeals were made in every Northern city to 
all who could give, and probably, if the facts could be gath- 
ered, it would appear that this subscription to the iooth 
Regiment, generous as it was, did not after all represent 
more than half of what the Board of Trade gave during the 
Civil War as voluntary aid to the Government. 

A word should be added to complete the story of the 
adopted regiment, in connection with the Board of Trade. 
President Hazard wrote on July 30, 1862, to Major C. N. 
Otis, at the front, stating what the merchants of Buffalo 
had done for the iooth Regiment. The letter was read in 
camp near Harrison's Landing, August 6th, and a meeting 
of the officers of the iooth held at the tent of Quartermaster 
Bishop. Bringing as it did assurance that this depleted 
regiment should not be wiped out of existence, but was not 
only to be recruited but guaranteed in its maintenance, we 
may readily believe that Mr. Hazard's letter stirred in no 
ordinary way the emotions of the men to whom it was sent. 
The regiment drafted a reply, in which they not only 
thanked the Buffalo Board of Trade, but made acknowledg- 
ment in phrases of unusual fervor of their appreciation of 
the action of the Buffalo Board in raising funds for their 
regiment. "We hereby pledge ourselves," the resolutions 
concluded, "as we have been highly honored, to use our best 
endeavors to prove ourselves worthy of the honors thus con- 
ferred and that by no act of ours shall the Board of Trade 
have occasion to regret the action thus taken." It never 
did regret it. It watched over the fortunes of the iooth 
Regiment to the end of the war. The details of the service 
of that regiment may not be entered upon in this sketch. 

"Hon. Samuel Butler addressed the Board of Trade on the subject of the re- 
construction of the pier and harbor at Fairport, O."; July 30, 1864, "Col. 
Taylor of East Tennessee addressed the board on the distress in East Ten- 
nessee," etc. June 16, 1866, Major General Meade was a guest of the Board, 
and on July 28 of that year Lieutenant General Sherman was received there. 


That it bore not merely an active but a gallant part in a 
score of sieges, assaults and battles is matter of familiar 
record in the history of the Rebellion. From its organiza- 
tion to the close of the war the records show the names of 
1825 men connected with the regiment. Many of these 
names are those of old Buffalo families, of young men 
whose untimely death brought great grief into this com- 
munity, or of others who, surviving the war, have been and 
in some cases still are active and prominent in the life of 
Buffalo to this day. 

It has been said that the Buffalo Board of Trade made 
the 100th Regiment the largest regiment in the Department 
of Virginia, and that Col. Dandy made it the best. 

VIII. The Financial Side. 

The finances of the Board at this period can hardly be 
said to have flourished. On April 2, 1864, the by-laws were 
so amended that any one on the payment of $10 yearly could 
become an annual subscriber. Five dollars was fixed as a 
membership fee for the partners of members, or their clerks 
who were themselves unable to share in the privileges of the 
floor. In 1866 the by-laws were again revised, so that any 
one owning four or more shares of stock should be entitled 
to all the privileges of membership and exempt from dues 
and assessments. Up to 1867, 400 shares of stock, at $25 
a share, had been issued, amounting to $10,000. On April 
ioth, the capital was increased to $20,000. The next year 
a further revision of the by-laws fixed the annual dues at 
$20 for residents and $40 for non-residents. Dissatisfaction 
greatly increased on account of the inequality of privileges 
of stockholders, and stockholders' advantages over members 
who held no stock came to be regarded by the latter class as 
unjust and to their own detriment. In 1870 the annual dues 
were further increased to $25 subject to a deduction for 
stock, $5 of the amount being for the benefit of the open 


By the spring of '68 the capital stock had increased to 
$30,000 and at a meeting of the trustees, on motion of Frank 
A. Sears, it was voted that a committee of three should re- 
port at an early date the most feasible plan for the erection 
of a building. This appears to have been the first step taken 
in the matter. Nothing came of it at the time. A little later 
the Finance Committee was instructed to report, on suitable 
sites and did report August 14th of that year in favor of the 
purchase of three pieces of property, all on Prime Street, 
owned respectively by George R. Babco-ck, estate of George 
Palmer and Stephen G. Austin, the total valuation amount- 
ing to $53,000. This proposition, in turn, was reconsidered 
and tabled, but the following month we find the Finance 
Committee again reporting at considerable length on the ad- 
visability of the purchase of properties at the foot of Main, 
running through to Washington Street, and fronting on 
Ohio Street, owned by E. G. Spaulding, Captain E. P. Dorr, 
William H. Greene and John T. Hudson. The whole parcel 
was 33 feet front on Main, 210 feet on Ohio, 101 feet on 
Washington, affording 279 feet of building front and 345 
feet of water front on the Creek. The estimated cost of this 
property was $118,000, or $561.90 per foot, taking the Ohio- 
street frontage as a basis. This the committee thought not 
unreasonable and a purchase appears to have been seriously 
considered. When, however, the proposition was submitted 
to the stockholders, September 22nd, they voted an indefinite 

Although in some years running expenses exceeded the 
income so that there was a deficiency to make up, yet the 
stockholders received yearly dividends, in one case as high 
as 25 per cent. In 1873, w ^ n view to increasing the income, 
it was recommended by the committee that the funds then 
invested in Government bonds which drew interest at six per 
cent, in gold, of a par value of $20,000, but of a market 
value stated at $23,400, be reinvested in bonds of the Buf- 
falo & Washington Railroad which could be bought for 
eighty-five cents and which paid six per cent, interest. This, 
it was argued, would increase the income by about $500 
yearly. Favorable as the proposition appeared, it was de- 


dared inadvisable and instead of making the transfer the 
Board endeavored to reduce the deficiency by sundry minor 

With a view to realizing more on the accumulations it 
was voted May 25, 1875, to sell the Government bonds and 
deposit the proceeds in the savings banks of Buffalo until 
they could be profitably reinvested. In June the $20,000 
of bonds were sold at $1.18% netting $23,712.50, and were 
placed in various banks. Within a few months the Board 
purchased Buffalo city bonds of various issues to the amount 
of $26,125.49, and the April balance sheet of 1876 showed a 
total higher than had ever before been reached, of 

The increase in profits, however, from the invested funds, 
did not in the least allay the dissatisfaction among members. 
It became evident that a thorough reorganization was in- 
evitable. In 1878 we find the Board addressing itself in a 
businesslike way to the wise settlement of its own difficul- 
ties. The legal counsel for the Board, Mr. George B. Hib- 
bard, in response to an official request, wrote a long state- 
ment in which he replied to the following inquiries pro- 
pounded by President Richmond : 

1. Have the trustees of the Board of Trade a right to 
divide to the stockholders any part of the capital stock or 
its accumulations until said stock and accumulation shall 
amount to $50,000? 

The legal adviser at great length answered No, unless 
power was secured through new legislation. 

2. Have the stockholders the right to dissolve this or- 
ganization ? 

Again Mr. Hibbard replied No, except as the statutes of 
the State provide. 

3. Can this present Board be so changed in its manage- 
ment as to allow all its members an equal voice ? 

No, that could not be done either, as the law stood. 

4. Is there a general law of the State under which 
Boards of Trade can be organized? 

Yes, the Act of May 3, 1877, was ample. 


5. If it is thought advisable to reorganize this Board of 
Trade under the general laws of the State so that each mem- 
ber can have an equal voice, in what way can we retain the 
present funds now held for the purpose of erecting a Board 
of Trade building? 

To this the attorney could only say in substance that new 
legislation would be necessary. 

Mr. Charles A. Sweet presented a petition asking for the 
reorganization of the Board of Trade. An outcome of the 
long discussion was the appointment of a committee of five, 
two of whom were trustees and two stockholders not trus- 
tees, the president having a casting vote, to investigate and 
report on the whole subject of reorganization. Associated 
with the president on this committee were Charles A. Sweet, 
Alfred P. Wright, Cyrus Clarke and James D. Sawyer. It 
was voted at that time that a stock-book should be opened 
for subscribers to the amount of $100,000, with a view to 
the erection of a suitable up-town building. The following 
petition appears on the official minutes of the trustees at 
this period : 

"We, the undersigned, owners of stock in the said Board of 
Trade, believing that the best interests of our organization demand 
a reorganization of the same upon a basis of equality of membership, 
respectfully request your Honorable Body to take immediate steps 
for the said reorganization upon popular basis and dissolution of the 
present stock Board." 

One hundred and eight names, representing 734 shares 
of stock, were signed to this petition. 

On March 9, 1878, the committee on reorganization re- 
ported the majority report, signed by Alonzo Richmond, 
A. P. Wright, Charles A. Sweet and James D. Sawyer, 
stating that a reorganization could not be effected without 
special legislation, but that a new organization could be 
created under the State law of May 3, 1877, "which is en- 
tirely applicable to the wants of our trade." The report 
further recommended that the trustees call a meeting of the 
open Board and take steps to perfect a new organization. 

Cyrus Clarke submitted a minority report, stating that in 
his view reorganization could not be effected without special 


legislation and that he could not concur in the report of the 
committee "relative to a new organization outside of the 
present Board of Trade." 

A supplementary report, signed by the full committee, 

"Your committee recognizes the fact that they may be open to 
criticism in going beyond the legislation which created them, yet 
they believe it proper to say that the present seems an opportune 
time to push forward the project of a Board of Trade building. We 
respectfully urge upon your Honorable Body that you take such 
steps as in your judgment will forward the project of building such 
an edifice as will be adapted to the wants of the trade in our city 
and an ornament and honor to Buffalo." 

The Board adopted the majority report. 

At a special meeting of the trustees, April 23rd, of this 
same year, George Sandrock offered the following, which 
was adopted : 

"Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed . . . to call a 
meeting of the open Board at an early day to lay before said meeting 
the condition of the affairs of the Board, showing that it is not ad- 
visable to continue the organization as at present worked on account 
of inability financially to furnish necessary attractions to the open 
Board; and that they recommend to said meeting the organization 
of an open Board for commercial purposes on a liberal and equitable 
basis, thereby cutting off the present stockholders' privileges and 
making all members thereof equal." 

As such committee the chair appointed George Sandrock, 
Charles G. Curtiss, Howard H. Baker, F. L. A. Cady and 
Henry R. Jones. 

April 27th, at an open Board meeting, Mr. Sandrock's 
committee made a long report on the financial situation. 
They showed by an array of statistics, 1867 1o l &77> that the 
expenses for eleven years exceeded the receipts by $8907.71. 
Membership dues had fluctuated from $5235 in 1869 to 
$2635 m l &77- Sale of spaces of sample tables ran as high 
as $1516 in 1868, but touched bottom in 1877 at $127. Ad- 
vertising wall space, which had netted $200 in 1868, brought 
in only $110 in 1877. 


On the other hand, in spite of economies, expenses had 
grown. By drastic efforts various small savings were ef- 
fected. The rent, newspaper subscriptions, telegraph fees, 
even the secretary's salary, were all cut down and yet it was 
necessary to make up a deficiency from the interest on the 
capital stock. "The balance of interest received during 
these eleven years, about $6000, was paid to the stockholders 
in dividends as follows: Fifteen hundred dollars in 1867, 
$Soo in 1868, $4800 in 1877." 

The report went on to say that figuring on two hundred 
paying members, if all paid the same dues, whether stock- 
holders or not, there could easily be maintained a first class 
Board of Trade having funds enough to pay the necessary 
expenses to make the Board attractive to merchants, "but 
unfortunately for the interest of this Board as now organ- 
ized, the stockholders have to be credited with ten per cent. 
on the amount of stock they own towards paying their mem- 
bership dues, which so materially reduces our revenues as 
to compel the trustees to make this exhibit. 

"The capital stock of the Board of Trade, unless it should 
sometime be used for providing the Board with a suitable 
building, is, in its present shape, a real detriment to the 
progress and best interests of the Board. Why not free our- 
selves from this incubus by allowing the trustees to pay 
to the stockholders in the shape of dividends the annual in- 
terest on the capital stock and. all members whether they 
own stock or not join together to form a new Board on a 
fair and equitable basis ; where no member shall be pre- 
ferred over another and all alike share in the honors and 
responsibilities of conducting the affairs of the Board? 

"This committee, all members of the present Board of 
Trustees, may possibly be accused of a design to break up 
the Board of Trade, but we assure you, gentlemen, that we 
are all animated with a desire to further the interests of our 
city and of the Board of Trade, of which we feel justly 
very proud ; but we sincerely believe that the sooner we or- 
ganize a Board of Trade on a more liberal and popular 
basis, the sooner will we be furthering our own and our 
city's best interests." 


Reorganization, on the lines suggested, was resolved 
upon; but it was not until March 15, 1882, that a decisive 
vote on the proposition to build, was recorded. Subscrip- 
tion books were opened for additional stock, to the amount 
of $75,000, to be subscribed in shares of $25 each, the sub- 
scribers waiving all rights and privileges of trading on the 
open Board. The remaining $5875, authorized to be issued 
under the Act of May 29, 1868, was made subject to the 
same condition. 

IX. The Move Up-town — The Merchants' Exchange. 

On January 20, 1876, the building adjoining the Board 
of Trade was burned and the Board of Trade quarters w'ere 
damaged by water. The loss was covered by insurance, 
repairs were soon made and various improvements under- 
taken, which had been long needed. Among these was the 
opening of an entrance from Prime Street, giving freer 
access to the Board of Trade rooms. The time had come, 
however, when not even such alterations as could be made 
in the old building made it suitable for the needs of the 
institution. The uptown movement of business had long 
since carried the business heart of the city far above the 
Terrace. The banking center had apparently settled at 
Seneca Street, or from there up for two or three blocks. 
The Board of Trade had in fact outgrown the old head- 
quarters, and more and more the desirability was felt of 
establishing it nearer the banks and other principal business 
interests. As soon as this was proposed, certain members 
objected that any removal away from the water front would 
be disastrous. The majority, however, took another view. 
In 1880 the Board sought offers of uptown property. 
Several propositions were submitted, among others one 
from the owners of the Brown buildings, offering the entire 
block on the north side of Seneca, between Main and Wash- 
ington streets, at $250,000. The Board of Trade took a 
favorable view of the offer and a committee was appointed 
to solicit subscriptions, but they found after some weeks of 


canvassing - that a surprisingly large number of the mer- 
chants of Buffalo would take no interest in the project. 
Only $28,000 was pledged and for a time the matter was 

In April, 1881, another uptown Board of Trade com- 
mittee was organized, headed by John B. Manning. Their 
business was to procure information as to uptown sites. By 
March 24, 1882, nine pieces of property had been offered and 
considered. Two sites soon appeared to be most favored. 
One was the old Western Hotel on the Terrace, which had 
become Police Headquarters, the other was at the northeast 
corner of Pearl and Seneca streets, owned by the William 
G. Fargo estate and occupied by the American Express 
Company. So strong was the rivalry between the advocates 
of these two sites that for a time it seemed as though the 
Board of Trade itself was in danger of being split into two 
organizations. The newspapers of the city were filled with 
the conflict. The Common Council of the city offered the 
old Police Headquarters site for $40,000, and many mem- 
bers of the Board of Trade and other citizens more or less 
personally interested, published a petition urging the pur- 
chase of this property. The trustees of the Board, however, 
preferred the other site. At a meeting held March 24, 1882, 
they voted in favor of the purchase of the Seneca-street 
property and passed a resolution to petition the Legislature 
for power to increase the Board of Trade stock to an amount 
not to exceed $500,000. While this action virtually settled 
the matter, it did not put an end to the public agitation. 
Steps were taken for the formation of a rival organization, 
to be called the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Building 
Association, which gave out that it would acquire the Police 
Headquarters property and build a Board of Trade thereon. 

The morning of April 13, 1882, was an eventful one in 
the history of the Board of Trade. The meeting had been 
called to announce the result of the recent election of trus- 
tees. It was the largest gathering of members in the history 
of the Board and all were worked up to an intense point of 
excitement, so deep was the feeling which had grown up 
over the rival propositions. The city authorities, anticipat- 


ing riotous proceedings, posted several policemen in the 

Secretary Thurston e called the meeting to order and an- 
nounced that the new Board of Trustees had elected J. F, 
Schoellkopf for president and the rest of the ticket asso- 
ciated with him. In the effort to avoid trouble, Mr. 
Thurstone announced that the usual inauguration cere- 
monies would be omitted and declared the Board adjourned. 

Not willing to be thus tamely turned down, the retiring 
president, John B. Manning, endeavored to address the 
Board. Mr. Manning had been the most active of those 
who had organized the Merchants' and Manufacturers' 
Building Association, of which at this time he was secre- 
tary. Representing, as he thus did, the organized opposi- 
tion to the avowed policy of the Board of Trade, there was 
no disposition on the part of most of the members present 
to give him a hearing. As he undertook to speak, a scene 
of wild confusion ensued. The members with few excep- 
tions withdrew to the further end of the room. Shouts and 
jeers and calls came from all quarters. Somebody struck 
up "John Brown's Body" in which many others joined in 
a reckless spirit. Mr. Manning continued his efforts to 
speak and the uproar increased. Handfuls of corn were 
thrown about the room and yells of "Put him out!" "Sit 
down!" etc., came from all quarters. He doggedly held his 
post on the platform and delivered an address, little if any 
of it being heard by the audience, which was in greater 
part a statement of the course he had pursued, especially in 
negotiations with the city of Buffalo, and a justification of 
his own course of action. 

Some of the cool-headed members sought to give Mr. 
Manning fair play and begged a respectful hearing for him; 
but the greater part were in a turbulent mood and finally 
with three cheers for several members who had interposed 
their suggestions, the meeting, which officially had long 
before adjourned, broke up. It was small wonder that after 
this exhibition of feeling against him, Mr. Manning should 
push forward the building project he had already espoused. 


On March 30, 1S82, the Merchants' and Manufacturers' 
Building Association had formally organized, electing 
George W. Tifft as president, Peter J. Ferris, vice-president, 
John B. Manning, secretary, and S. S. Spaulding, treasurer. 
Steps were at once taken to secure subscriptions, Mr. 
Manning and Henry L. Schaeffer being especially active in 
behalf of the project. Within a few weeks they had 
secured pledges of $140,000. Meanwhile the rival party, 
representing the Board of Trade, were also receiving many 
subscriptions, and as the summer wore on the community 
realized, as presently did the warring members themselves, 
that an attempt to build and maintain two institutions so 
nearly similar would be fatal to both. Ultimately Hit 
Terrace building project was dropped and before long most, 
if not all, the disgruntled members of the Board of Trade 
were giving their support to the Seneca-street enterprise, 
Mr. Manning's name being first in the list of trustees of 
the Merchants' Exchange, under the new incorporation. 

A capable Building Committee, consisting of Jewett M. 
Richmond, Alfred P. Wright, Edwin T. Evans, Thomas 
Chester and M. I. Crittenden, were entrusted with the work 
of closing the deal and procuring plans ; but more important 
than the erection of a new building was the reorganization 
at this time of the Board of Trade. The uptown move in 
fact was but an incident in the expansion of the institution. 
It was determined not only to give the new organization a 
broader scope than its predecessor had enjoyed, but to 
readjust the privileges of stockholders. 

On March 28, 18S2, the trustees issued a statement in 
which, after setting forth the plans for removal and build- 
ings, they said : 

"It is intended that the present organization, known as the Board 
of Trade, shall be the property-owning one, its stockholders waiving 
all rights to admission to the floor of the Exchange, but reserving all 
other rights as stockholders. It is also a part of the purpose of this 
Board of Trade, if satisfactory arrangements can be made with the 
organization now applying for a charter, known as the Merchants' 
Exchange, to lease to it the Exchange rooms in this building, inviting 
them to invest their capital arising from their initiation fees in the 


capital stock of the present Board of Trade, which will be invested 
in the property purchased. 

"It is further necessary to state to the public that the action of 
the Board of Trustees in the selection of a site meets with the gen- 
eral approbation of our members and it is sincerely hoped that all 
dissentions will now cease, and that when authority for additional 
capital is granted, the merchants of Buffalo will come forward and 
make the project in every way a success." 

The Merchants' Exchange was incorporated April 14. 
1882. [Chap. 59, Laws of 1882.] The act of incorporation 
bestowed the usual powers ; authorized the corporation to 
hold real estate, to build, lease, etc. Its affairs were to be 
managed by thirteen trustees, to be elected annually on the 
second Wednesday in January. The first trustees were 
John B. Manning, Jacob F. Schoellkopf, A. P. Wright, J. 
N. Scatcherd, Edward B. Smith, C. A. Sweet, Pascal P. 
Pratt, H. G. Nolton, Wm. Meadows, E. L. Hedstrom, Wm. 
ITengerer, J. M. Richmond, and Philip Becker. The charter 
provided for the appointment of an Arbitration Committee 
of three, whose powers, duties and disabilities are the same 
as appertain to arbitrators under the laws of the State of 
New York; "and awards made by them must be made and 
may be enforced as therein and thereby directed" — in other 
words, they came under the Code of Civil Procedure. 
Membership was fixed at an initiatory fee of $100, annual 
dues at $25. 

From the date of incorporation of the Merchants' Ex- 
change, the Board of Trade has continued as the holding 
body, its presidents being the same as of the Exchange. 

Designs and plans for the proposed building were adver- 
tised for. On June 12, 1882, fifteen sets of plans were re- 
ceived. Those submitted by Milton E. Beebe were accepted, 
and in August Mr. Beebe received his commission as archi- 
tect for the Board and entered upon his duties. 

The building that was erected in accordance with his 
plans, on the northeast corner of Seneca and Pearl, has a 
frontage of 132 feet on Seneca, and 60 feet on Pearl. It 
was originally just 100 feet high, consisting of seven stories 
and basement, but the basement having a rise of five feet 


above the level of the pavement, made it practically eight 
stories. At this period steel-frame construction was in its 
infancy. The girders are of iron, but the sustaining walls 
are of brick, with a profusion of cut stone and terra cotta 
ornament. The main entrance in the middle of the Seneca- 
street front, was by an arched doorway, eight feet wide, 
flanked by granite columns supporting elaborately-carved 
capitals. The area of window-space was large, and a strik- 
ing feature of the facade was the arched top of the com- 
posite windows of the fifth story. Pilasters rising to the 
roof, with capitals and pediment, still further enriched the 
external appearance. The cornice was surmounted with an 
iron railing. 

As originally constructed, the building contained 73 
offices. On the fourth floor, planned for the use of the 
Merchants' Exchange, was the Board room, 70 feet long by 
53 feet wide, 23 feet high, with a ''ladies' gallery" at the 
east end. The secretary's rooms, committee rooms, etc., 
were en suite adjoining. 

The contract for the entire building was let to Jacob Beier 
& Son. They handled the stone and brickwork themselves, 
and sublet the other portions. The edifice was ready for 
occupancy November 1, 18S3. The entire cost of site and 
building was approximately $250,000. 

The opening ceremonies were held on New Year's Day, 
1884. The Exchange room was thronged, and as there were 
few seats, the greater part of the audience stood "shoulder 
to shoulder." Up in the balcony Poppenberg's band filled 
the air with harmony. On the platform, besides the speak- 
ers, were Pascal P. Pratt, Cyrus P. Lee, S. M. Clement, F. 
H. Root, and the Hon. E. G. Spaulding. The president of 
the Board of Trade, Jacob F. Schoellkopf, in a short ad- 
dress, reviewed the career of the organization, and named 
the men who had served as its president. Fie announced 
that the Buffalo Merchants' Exchange, which had been 
incorporated April 14, 1882, had leased the Exchange room 
and offices adjoining. "I now have pleasure, Mr. Presi- 
dent," he added, turning to Mr. Scatcherd, "in giving you 
possession of them, hoping from the evidences presented 


during the past few weeks and now before me that you 
represent an institution which will not only be an honor to 
Buffalo, but a source of incalculable benefit to our commer- 
cial and business interests in all their varied departments." 

President Scatcherd, representing the"' Merchants' Ex- 
change, accepted the lease in a short speech, in which he 
predicted a successful career for the Exchange if it received 
the henrty cooperation of the different business interests 
represented. "The full significance of the hour is found in 
the fact that through the medium of the Merchants' Ex- 
change, the commerce and trade of the lakes and canal have 
struck hands with our mercantile and manufacturing inter- 
ests, and the representatives of each are upon this floor side 
by side, united by a common tie for the purpose of pro- 
moting and protecting the varied industries and interests of 

Interesting addresses followed; by E. L. Hedstrom, who 
sketched the growth of Buffalo's commerce; by Hon. E. C. 
Sprague, whose theme also was the progress of Buffalo, but 
in the broadest sense, with a thought for her advance in 
other things than the merely material ; by Richard K. Noye, 
representing the manufacturing interests; by George P. 
Sawyer, who spoke for the lumber interests ; and by George 
S. Hazard, who gave reminiscences of the Board of Trade 
and its accomplishments. 

It was a pleasant and truly auspicious occasion. Con- 
gratulations were received, in letter and telegram, from 
friends elsewhere, from other commercial bodies and busi- 
ness interests. The assemblage seemed infused with a spirit J 
of enterprise and cooperation which augured well for the 
Exchange and for the city of Buffalo. 

The construction of the Lackawanna railroad through 
the section west of Main Street, in the spring and summer 
of 18S3, destroyed all of the buildings associated with the 
life of the Board of Trade up to this time, wiped out most 
of the landmarks in the neighborhood, obliterated streets 
and utterly changed the character of that part of the city. 
There was a general regret, even among unsentimental 
people, at the passing of Central Wharf. No other place in 


Buffalo stood for so much in the city's business history. 
The Board of Trade, and offices adjoining, had long been 
the rendezvous, the club-room, of the men of trade. As 
many a resident can recall, it was a picturesque row of 
buildings with balconies and stairways, overlooking not 
only the river, but with good lookout beyond the harbor and 
up the lake. On the upper balcony crowds of merchants 
and vessel-owners were wont to gather, to note the incom- 
ing of vessels, or the struggles of some craft in the ice floe 
of early spring. The old wharf had so long been the busi- 
ness home of many of these men that its destruction seemed 
to them little less than desecration. Some of them had 
begun work there as boys. As they got on in years, they 
had advanced from clerks to partners, had established firms 
of their own, had bought and sold, bargained and shipped, 
elevated and built. Year after year they had seen the com- 
merce of the port grow. Their own efforts had made it 
grow; they had created the greatness of Buffalo, and were 
a part of it. And old Central Wharf for twenty years, and 
its immediate neighborhood for twice twenty years, had 
been the center of it all. 

Some of these men remembered the earliest buildings on 
the wharf, and loved to tell stories of them. They would 
point out where Winthrop Fox built his store in 1814 — the 
site long covered by Hand's tug-office. John Scott's old 
warehouse, built in 1816, stood close by, some fifty feet 
from the foot of Main Street. Scott was remembered as 
the first forwarder of Buffalo; George Holt was his clerk. 

There were few if any other structures on what became 
Central Wharf until after the canal was opened. About 
1825 Joy & Webster built a wooden warehouse at the corner 
of Commercial Slip. Then came that of S. Thompson & 
Co., on the site of the Union Steamboat Company's office, 
extending to the river. Smith & Macy built about where 
the Board of Trade headquarters were afterwards estab- 
lished ; and rapidly the whole water-front was built up. 
As each office was established., there was generally a ware- 
house in connection, and a separate dock fronting immedi- 
ately on the waterway. Insurance men, liquor and cigar 


dealers and other tradesmen, located as they could find 
space among" the dealers in grain or ships' stores. About 
the time the Board of Trade was organized the first continu- 
ous wharf was built at this point. The sail-lofts and ware- 
houses loomed above little one-story offices. These in time 
were replaced by three and four-story brick structures. The 
balcony or second-story verandah was an early feature of 
the row, and it added greatly not only to the picturesqueness 
of the wharf, but it promoted the social intercourse and 
business freedom of the colony. 

It was a place too of many associations. Many distin- 
guished men, only a few of whom are named in this sketch, 
were visitors in the old rooms. A former President of the 
United States, Millard Fillmore, had helped to dedicate 
them. 1 At a later period another Buffalo President of the 
United States, Grover Cleveland, was one of the few hon- 
orary members of the Exchange. The most impressive 
scene ever witnessed in the rooms on Central Wharf was 
on September 26, 1881, when a memorial service was held 
on the death of President Garfield, shared in by prominent 
clergy and the Westminster Church quartette, and attended 
by a throng of members. Thereafter for thirty days the 
Board of Trade rooms were kept heavily draped in mourn- 

The revised by-laws of the Merchants' Exchange, 
adopted January 29, 1884, specified, among the usual pro- 
visions, that membership certificates were transferable on 
the payment of a fee of three dollars ; that clerks in the 
employ of a member could represent said member on the 
floor of the Exchange on payment of fifteen dollars per year 
for each clerk. The annual election of trustees was fixed on 
the second Wednesday of January, "but at this election the 
members of the Exchange may have the privilege of ex- 
pressing their choice who of this number shall be president, 
vice-president and treasurer." The standing committees in- 
clude those on Finance, and on Floor, to be chosen from the 
Board of Trustees ; on Rooms and Fixtures, to consist of 

1. For Mr. Fillmore's remarks at the opening of the Board of Trade 
rooms on Central Wharf, June 26, 1862, see 11 Pubs. Buf. Hist. Soc, 67, 68. 


three members of the Board and two members of the Ex- 
change, not on the Board ; and on Reference, Transporta- 
tion, Real Estate and General Information, from members 
of the Exchange not on the Board. The Arbitration com- 
mittee, to consist of three members of the Exchange not 
members of the Board, was to be elected by the Board, in- 
stead of appointed by the president, and no one serving on 
it could also be a member of the Reference committee. The 
duties of the committees are carefully specified, especially 
as relates to reelection of expelled members, complaints 
against agents, the settlement of trades or with members 
who fail to meet their contracts. 

By the end of 1884, 530 members were enrolled. The 
admission fee was increased from $100 to $250, the money 
received being mainly invested in Board of Trade stock. 
The Exchange room was a busy place. Commercial re- 
ports of markets from all points were bulletined as soon as 
received. The reading-room was kept well stocked with 
newspapers and trade journals. The services of a reliable 
and capable chief inspector of grain, Conway W. Ball, had 
been secured. The various committees were active and some 
of them made valuable reports of work in their province. 
The Lumber Committee, reporting for the first time to the 
Exchange, submitted a statistical review of the year 1884, 
in which, it is not without interest to note, "at least 
300,000,000 feet of lumber were received by our dealers, on 
their own account." The Transportation Committee issued 
circulars during the year, and a report at its close, covering 
the general subjects of freight discrimination, adequate har- 
bors, etc., with numerous recommendations for local work. 
It advocated a nine- foot draught for the Erie Canal. 

These and other data relative to its work which might be 
cited, show that notwithstanding the season of 1884 was an 
unprofitable one for lake and canal interests, the Merchants' 
Exchange, finding constantly a broader field of activity, was 
at this period in a flourishing condition. 

Among matters of a National character which received the 
attention of the Exchange at this period were the Silver 
Coinage, the Bankruptcy Bill and Taxation. 


When the Merchants' Exchange was organized, it was 
anticipated that the Transportation Committee would be one 
of the most important, if not the most important, of all the 
committees. Nothing- was done by it, however, until Janu- 
ary, 1885, when it made the report just cited. In that year 
an effort was made to bring the transportation interests 
more prominently forward in Exchange affairs. An en- 
larged committee of thirteen members, was named by Presi- 
dent Hedstrom, each member representing a different trade 
or business. The principal task of the committee was to 
cure, as far as possible, the evil of inequitable and unjust 
discrimination in freight rates, and to see that the railroads, 
in making up their tariffs, gave Buffalo pro rata rates. 

When the Exchange got fairly to work on its new basis, 
its committees included those on finance, rooms and fixtures, 
floor, reference, arbitration, transportation, real estate and 
general information, lumber, coal, oil, call board, flour and 
grain inspecting, and grain. In 1887 ft added committees on 
groceries, produce, etc., and harbor improvement; and, 
from time to time, still others, to deal with new features of 
its ever-broadening work. 

X. Miscellaneous Work — Some of the Workers. 

By 1893 the question of enlarging the building was 
raised. In the spring of that year, a committee to whom 
the matter had been referred, reported against it. Three 
years later, however, it was found advisable to add another 
— the eighth— story. The seventh story was overhauled and 
improved, new elevators put in and minor improvements 
made. The value of the land and building was then esti- 
mated at $295,000. The par value of the stock was $185,000, 
and as the Merchants' Exchange owned more than one half 
of it, it controlled the management of the building. 

The rules and regulations governing the inspection of 
grain have been modified from time to time. Revised rules 
were adopted March 24, 1884. The appointment of a chief 
grain inspector established an admirable system of inspec- 
tion which increased the business and gave a recognized 


standard for all cereals bought and sold, besides proving ad- 
vantageous to interested parties. 

The Floor Rules adopted by the Exchange April 10, 1884, 
fixed 'Change hours from 10 a. m. to 4 p. m. ; High 
'Change from 11.30 a. m. to 12.30 p. m. ; forbade 
smoking in the Exchange room between 11 and 12, and de- 
creed that "the throwing of dough, corn or other articles is 
strictly forbidden," and provided for what was deemed ade- 
quate punishment for offenders. Members who are "posted" 
for failure to meet contracts are forbidden the privilege of 
the floor. 

On February 14, 1884, the Exchange adopted rules and 
regulations governing the Call Board; specifying the time 
and method of trading, the quantities of grain constituting 
purchases and sales under call, providing for a record of 
transactions, etc. 

On March 24, 1884, a set of rules and regulations for the 
government of the grain trade was adopted by the Ex- 
change. They fixed the hours for trading ; specified that a 
boat-load of wheat shall consist of 7,800 bushels, of corn 
8,300, oats 13,000; a car-load of grain shall consist of 
30,000 pounds ; and prescribed the procedure with secur- 
ities or margins, payments, commissions, inspection, etc., 
with penalties for infraction of the rules. For the first vio- 
lation of the Trading Rules a fine of $25 is imposed; for a 
second violation, a fine of $100; and for a third, suspension 
or expulsion, in the discretion of the trustees. 

The miscellaneous work of the Board of Trade and Mer- 
chants' Exchange touches many matters, some of them far 
beyond the natural field of activities for a commercial or- 
ganization. From time to time special efforts have been 
made to advertise Buffalo. This was notably so just prior 
to the Pan-American Exposition and again in 1904 when 
the Exchange entered into a contract with the Forum maga- 
zine for the publication of an illustrated article on Buffalo. 
Other work of a more or less elaborate scale has been done 
from time to time in this field ; recently, to good effect, by 
the attractive paper styled Doings, issued by the Chamber 
of Commerce. 


Proper record should be made of the work of the Ex- 
change in connection with the Pan-American Exposition. 
As early as 1S96, when the first proposal was made for hold- 
ing an exposition on the Niagara Frontier, the Merchants' 
Exchange gave hearty support to it. It was then thought 
possible to arrange for the exposition in 1899, but by 1898 
it was seen that the enterprise must be postponed and 
worked out on a wholly different basis. In December of '98 
the Exchange passed resolutions endorsing a later date for 
the Exposition and adding the important stipulation that 
when it should be held it should be held if possible within 
the Buffalo city limits. The first idea had been to place it 
on an island near La Salle. Throughout all the months of 
organization for the active work of the Exposition year the 
Merchants' Exchange took a public-spirited and liberal atti- 
tude. It seemed to realize that one of its most important 
functions was to foster such a public enterprise as this. It 
established a bureau for the entertainment of guests and it 
suggested the idea of a Buffalo Day, ultimately fixed, also 
at its request, on October 19th. Its special committees of 
various sorts contributed their full share to such measure 
of success as crowned the work of the Exposition. 

Through the Merchants' Exchange Buffalo has repeat- 
edly been represented at expositions elsewhere. It sent a 
strong delegation to the World's Columbian Water Com- 
merce Congress, held at Chicago during July and August, 
1893, in connection with the Columbian Exposition. It en- 
tertained in Buffalo, October 15, 1889, delegates to the In- 
ternational American Congress. It was represented in 1896 
at the opening of the Philadelphia Commercial Museums, 
and holds a membership certificate therein. 

The Board of Trade and Merchants' Exchange have not 
failed to respond to calls for help in time of calamity. Gen- 
erous subscription was made after the great Chicago fire of 
1871. In October, 1873, several hundred dollars were raised 
for Memphis sufferers. In September, '86, the Exchange 
sent a generous donation to the Charleston earthquake suf- 
ferers ; in '89 it contributed over $2,000 towards the relief 
of the Johnstown flood sufferers. Home philanthropies 


have also been remembered. In 1893, instead of giving - an 
elaborate lunch for members, it donated $250 to the 
Women's Educational and Industrial Union. From time to 
time it has contributed to the Fresh Air Mission and to other 
good causes. In 1896, 400 members of the Exchange 
marched in the Sound Money parade of October 29th, when 
30,000 men of Buffalo took that way to show their political 
affiliation and financial views. In 1895, the Exchange was 
active in urging that Buffalo be designated as the place for 
holding sessions and the location of the Appellate Division 
of the Supreme Court, Fourth Judicial Department. It rec- 
ommended the establishment here of a branch hydrographic 
office, and then and at other times made efforts which re- 
sulted in the improvement of the Signal Service work on 
the Great Lakes. 

From time to time it has found it advisable to strengthen 
its hold on the community in social ways, Its reception and 
ball on the night of December 30, 1S86, brought to the Ex- 
change building a thousand or more representative Buffalo 
men and women, and it is still recalled as an unusually suc- 
cessful gathering. Its trade excursions, undertaken in 1900, 
in cooperation with the Credit Men's Association, have 
proved not only a source of pleasure, but a source of profit 
to Buffalo. Its banquet of December 22, 1902, marked the 
completion of the Buffalo breakwater. These are some of 
the events in its recent history which have given the Cham- 
ber of Commerce a firm hold on the social life of its city. 

Various amendments have been made from time to time 
to both charter and by-laws; to the former, April 28, 1891 ; 
to the latter, November 17, 1891. Perhaps the most im- 
portant of these new provisions was the Gratuity Fund, or- 
ganized in September, 1887, 1 and included thereafter in the 
provisions of the by-laws. It provided a life insurance for 
members of the Exchange, settling aside a part of the annual 
dues for that purpose, and at death the reserve was increased 
by each member paying a small amount more than was re- 
quired to meet a death claim. The fact that the obligation 

1. The Act of June 8, 1887, amends the charter as to investment of 
funds, and creates the Gratuity Fund. 


to pay the assessment was a binding one, rendered the se- 
curity complete. The Exchange, by means of the trustees 
of the Gratuity Fund, took charge of this business, without 
any compensation, so there was comparatively little money 
to be expended except in the payment of death claims. The 
first trustees of the Gratuity Fund, 1887, were Henry C. 
French, Charles B. Armstrong, Harris Fosbinder, James R. 
Smith and Flenry S. Sill. 

The system was in operation for some years, but never 
gained the popularity which its projectors had expected. In 
1889 it was proposed to do away with it. Legal advice at 
the time was against this, and it was continued, 61 new 
members being added. The fund in 1890 consisted of 100 
shares, Board of Trade stock, of a par value of $2,500, and 
$753.87 in cash. In January, 1893, a letter was sent to the 
215 members of the fund, seeking their views as to the ex- 
pediency of continuing. Fifty were for it, 94 against it, 10 
wrote to say they were indifferent, and 61 were too indiffer- 
ent to write at all. In 1901 a bill was introduced in the 
Legislature giving the trustees authority to terminate the 
fund. Finally, February 12, 1903, the trustees of the fund 
held their last meeting; the last members having with- 
drawn, the 100 shares of Board of Trade stock were trans- 
ferred to the Merchants' Exchange, and the trustees 

A sketch like the present would be lamentably incomplete 
did it not recognize the individuality of the men who built 
up the institution ; but when one undertakes to specify, it 
becomes impossible to give due distinction to the scores and 
hundreds of men whose business history is identified with 
the Chamber of Commerce. Buffalo has never lacked strong 
men, able men, in her business ranks. In the old days on 
Central Wharf, before modern methods of corporate con- 
trol had minimized the opportunities of individual effort, 
business success was a personal matter. Competition was 
sharp, and the conditions called forth the best there was in 
a man. The conditions made strong men — men capable to 
cope with any emergency. Here were developed the essen- 
tial qualities which built up successful firms, laid the 


foundations of substantial fortunes, and strengthened com- 
mercial Buffalo. 

The succession of presidents of the Board is an honor 
roll in the business history of Buffalo. From Russell H. 
Heywood down the office has been held by men conspicuous 
in the community for their business ability and public spirit. 
In all this line it can not be deemed invidious to make indi- 
vidual mention of but one who, five times president, gave 
to the Board of Trade a unique service. This was George 
S. Hazard. No other president has served so many terms, 
or at such a critical time. At the head of the body during 
the Civil War, it was in large measure due to Mr. Hazard 
that the iooth Regiment was "adopted" by the Board, 
strengthened and helped during the war. Surviving most 
of his early business associates, Mr. Hazard long enjoyed 
the affection and veneration of a younger generation. He 
reached his 94th year, 1 active well-nigh to the end, a beau- 
tiful figure in the life of Buffalo, as he was an important 
figure in its history. 

Among all those who have served the organization the 
history of which we trace, and who helped make it what it 
now is, peculiar distinction belongs to William Thurstone. 
When he died at his home in Buffalo, March 26, 1898, he 
had been secretary of the Board of Trade for thirty-five 
years, and of the Merchants' Exchange for sixteen years. 
Born in London, Eng., February 21, 1826, he settled in 
Buffalo in 1855, and in 1863 was made secretary of the 
Board of Trade, at one dollar per day. His fidelity and 
ability won repeated advancement. After the organization 
of the Merchants' Exchange, of which he was made secre- 
tary, in 1882, he continued to act as honorary secretary of 
the Board of Trade, until his death. 

He was distinguished not merely by the ability to do rou- 
tine work surpassingly well, but by his ideas, which were 
broad and progressive. As early as 1871 Mr. Thurstone 
suggested, "whether the advantages of our present Board 
of Trade might not be extended to the other varied interests 
of our city through enlarging its sphere of usefulness by 

Mr. Hazard died Aug. 7, 1903. 


inducing our manufacturers and merchants to become iden- 
tified with it by becoming members, and the establishment 
of committees or bureaus in the several departments of their 
trade to protect their interests and increase their business." 
A third of a century later we find the institution expanding 
and seeking to accomplish greater results, along the lines 
suggested by Mr. Thurstone in 187 1. 

He was one of the commissioners appointed by the. Canal 
Board, July 10, 1877, to investigate and report on the sub- 
ject of canal tolls. He served with David A. Wells and L. 
J. N. Stark, and in February, 1S78, made an admirable 
report, which has permanent value as an historical docu- 

His life-work was given to the Board and Exchange, 
and from first to last he served it, and through it the city 
of Buffalo, with exceptional devotion, zeal and discretion. 
His post was never a very remunerative one, yet we find 
him, in a period of reverses for the Board, accepting a re- 
duction of pay, and cheerfully carrying forward the work 
as usual. He soon won a reputation as a statistician; not 
merely serving in that capacity the Board of Trade and the 
press of Buffalo, but the United States Bureau of Statistics, 
which was under great obligations to him for reports on 
the commerce of the lakes and allied subjects. One phase 
of his work is recorded in the long series of minute-books, 
and in the annual publications of the Board. Aside from 
his devotion to this work, he filled worthily his place in the 
community, in all the relations of life. He touched life in 
many ways, with liberal ideas and many likings, and he held 
a secure place in the heart and remembrance of Buffalo. 
When his work was at an end, the press of Buffalo with 
unwonted fondness, dwelt upon his many high qualities, 
and pointed especially to the fact that his was a successful 
career because he had devoted himself to doing, and doing 
it better than most men could, a task worthy to be done. 
He could say with Robert Louis Stevenson: "I have known 
what pleasure is — I have known what it is to do a thing 
well." When word of his death reached his associates in 
the Exchange, a special meeting was held, for appropriate 


action, and on the clay of his burial (March 29th) the 
Exchange was closed in respect to his memory. 

Mr. Thurstone's first predecessor, as secretary of the old 
Board of Trade, was Giles K. Coats, elected in March, 1845. 
Data are lacking as to Mr. Coats' term of service. As 
already noted, John J. Henderson was secretary, 1855-57, 
perhaps longer. In i860, Horace Wilcox filled the office 
until June 30, wdien he resigned and Alfred D. Daw suc- 
ceeded him. Mr. Thurstone's successor, chosen in April, 
1898, was Charles H. Keep. Mr. Keep, who had been also 
secretary of the Lake Carriers' Association from 1891, gave 
the Exchange most efficient service until November, 1901, 
when he resigned, and was succeeded by F. Howard Mason, 
who was secretary of the Exchange, and of the Chamber of 
Commerce until the spring of 1908, when he was succeeded 
by Walter J. Shepard, who successfully filled the office until 
May, 1909, when he was appointed one of the Buffalo city 
assessors. On Aug. 1, 1909, Mr. Fenton M. Parke became 
secretary of the Chamber of Commerce. 

The dean of the body, so far as length of service goes, is 
the Lake Weighmaster, Junius S. Smith, whose official con- 
nection with it dates from 1870. The first incumbent of the 
post was Hiram M. Smith, in 1868. The next year there 
was no appointment, nor was there any at the opening of 
navigation in 1870. In May of that year Cyrus Clarke of 
Buffalo, being in Chicago, telegraphed home that the vessel 
interests there were calling for the appointment of a weigh- 
master at Buffalo, and on the 24th of May the Board ap- 
pointed Junius S. Smith and Capt. Martin Busher. Capt. 
Busher died in September of that year, and Mr. Smith per- 
formed the duties of the office. Mr. Smith was appointed 
annually by the Board of Trade until 1884, and then and 
until 1903 by the Merchants' Exchange. In the last-named 
year, on account of car-grain work, the chief inspector was 
appointed weighmaster, Mr. Smith being made lake weigh- 
master. This continued under the Chamber of Commerce 
until 1906, when the Corn Exchange of Buffalo took up the 
management of the grain business, Mr. Smith's appointment 
as lake weighmaster now being made by that body. The 


reports of the weighmaster, during the past thirty-seven 
years, deal with many matters of importance, which cannot 
be entered into here. The system developed and standard- 
ized by him, has been, obviously, a constant check on the 
work of all the elevators of the lakes. The quantity of grain 
weighed by him has varied from 19,060,293 bushels in 1876, 
the lowest year in his term of service, to 125,953,595 bushels 
in 1898, the record year to date. The amount for 1907 was 
92,051,758 bushels. More striking, however, than these fig- 
ures — which of course do not include rail shipments — is the 
reduction in the average shortage. In 1872, when the sys- 
tem was adopted, the average shortage per 1,000 bushels 
was 1.02 bushels. In 1907 it was 0.30, and in some recent 
years has been even lower, being only 0.154 in 1905, or less 
than one-sixth of what it was when the system was estab- 
lished. Under the Buffalo Board of Trade and its succeed- 
ing organizations, grain weighing has been reduced to a 

XL Buffalo and the Canal. 

In April, 1863, the Board of Trade of Buffalo, in associa- 
tion with gentlemen representing the Corn Exchange of 
New York City, submitted to the Joint Committee on Canals 
of the New York Legislature, a memorial showing that in 
the past season the tonnage capacity of the locks on the Erie 
Canal had been reached at 2,900,003; that there was no 
probability that the movement of tonnage would be in- 
creased by increasing the number of boats ; with other facts 
and arguments to show the inadequacy of the locks. The 
channel of the canal was 70 by 7 feet, whereas the locks 
were but 97 feet by 18; and the shippers and boatmen of 
Buffalo improved the opportunity to show as forcibly a9 
possible, with a great array of convincing statistics, the 
urgent need of lock-enlargement. 

The canal policy of the Board, was forcibly stated in a 
report, drawn up by a committee of fifteen and adopted by 
the full Board, December 18, 1874. It recommended "the 
completion at the earliest practicable time, of the work now 


in progress ... on the Erie and Oswego canals, accord- 
ing to the original policy of the amendment to the Consti- 
tution of 1854 ... so as to make the canal full 70 feet 
wide and 7 feet deep." The Board also advocated the aban- 
donment of certain lateral canals, the abolition of all weigh- 
locks, of many collectors' offices, the reduction of tolls on 
eastward-bound produce and grain to one-half of a mill per 
mile per 1000 pounds, and the complete abolition of tolls on 
westward-bound freight. 

The committee which drafted the report embodying the 
above recommendations, consisted of Cyrus Clarke, Alfred 
P. Wright, Robert Hadfield, John H. Vought, Absolom 
Nelson, D. P. Dobbins, James D. Sawyer, S. S. Guthrie, 
Niles Case, P. S. Marsh, Alonzo Richmond., Charles J. 
Mann, Henry A. Richmond, Nathan C. Simons and Jacob 
Shaver, Jr. This committee sent to the Canal Board of the 
State of New York, February 20, 1875, a ^ong and strongly- 
argued address, 1 devoted chiefly to the alarming state of the 
grain trade in the State and the urgent need of a canal 
policy along the lines indicated above. There is no question 
that this address, made up as it was of facts and unanswer- 
able arguments, had great weight with the Canal Board, 
whose special committee, in a report of March 10, 1875, 
recommended certain reductions in tolls for that season. 

Action substantially of the same purport as the above, 
was taken by the Board in different years. Prior to the 
above, at a meeting on 'Change, January 28, 1874, resolu- 
tions were adopted, reiterating certain features of resolu- 
tions adopted November 22, 1872, in which the canal policy 
of the Board was clearly defined. In addition to the en- 
largement and other features mentioned above, the Legis- 
lature of 1874 was asked to pass the Funding Bill, "to put 
the funds in proper shape to improve the canal and make it 
practically a free canal or as nearly so as possible." 

The work of many years may be summed up by saying 
that the reduction of fifty per cent, in canal tolls which had 

j. This address, and the report of Dec. 18, 1874, are printed in ful! in 
Secretary Thurstone's annual report on the trade and commerce of Buffalo for 


Ijeen secured to shippers by 1870 was largely due to the 
unceasing activity, of the Buffalo Board of Trade. Twelve 
years later, the total abolition of the tolls was also in large, 
measure attributable to the same source. The Board never 
failed to be represented at the various canal conventions or 
at Albany when legislation affecting the canal was pending. 
In August, 1886, Buffalo sent its usual strong delegation to 
the canal -convention at Syracuse and George Clinton was 
made permanent chairman of the Union for the Improve- 
ment of the Canals of the State of New York. This or- 
ganization accomplished much. 1 In 1889 the Merchants' 
Exchange, represented at Albany, made vigorous opposition 
to the so-called Syracuse waterworks bill, which contem- 
plated diverting to city uses the water of Skaneateles lake, 
which the friends of the canal claimed was needed as a 
feeder of the Jordan level. The ultimate defeat of this 
measure was attributed at the time to the activity of the 
Merchants' Exchange of Buffalo. In 189 1 this organization 
kept, at considerable expense, a special agent on the. ground 
at Montezuma, where a bad break existed, looking after the 
interests of forwarders* The next year we find the Mer- 

1. The following letter from Senator Conkling bears witness not only to 
the activity of the Merchants' Exchange, but to the interest of the distinguish- 
ed writer in canal matters: \ 

2 Wall Street, New York. February 29th, 1888. 

To Wh. Thurston, Esq.. Secretary Merchants' Exchange, Buffalo. 

My Dear Sir: I beg through you to express thanks to the Committee 
of the Merchants' Exchange and Business Men's Association for the honor 
of being invited to address the meeting to be held on Saturday. Although 
it is not in my power to be in Buffalo, my presence is not needed, I trust, 
to attest my interest in the Erie Canal. I believe m the maintenance, enlarge- 
ment and freedom of this great artery of commerce for reasons too many to 

be. stated in a brief letter. Not for Buffalo alone, nor for Buffalo and New ] 

York together, deep as is the interest of both, but for the State of New York, 
the whole State and all its sections, it is largely and durably important not 
only to take care of the canal, but to keep it up to the times in the fulness 
of its usefulness. Not only as a feeder, but as a regulator and safeguard the 
canal is so needful that the day will be ill-starred when the people or Legis- 
lature shall turn deaf ears or blind eyes to whatever honest demands it makes 
on the State or its revenues. 

Had I vote or voice lin the matter, that vote or voice would always be for 
locks long enough and prism capacious enough for the boats and the traffic 
willing to float. 

Your obedient servant, 




chants' Exchange appointing a committee and raising money 
to help the Canal Improvement convention, held in Buffalo. 
At this time $2591 was collected for the work of the Union. 
Timely action and enthusiasm practically saved a cause 
which was on the verge, of being abandoned in despair and 

An important year in canal history was 1894, when the 
Constitutional Convention revised the fundamental law of 
the State. The Buffalo Merchants' Exchange, with other 
commercial bodies, suggested to the convention important 
canal amendments ; and the Harbor and Canal Improve- 
ment Committee drafted an amendment leaving" the scope of 
the improvement of the canal and the amount to be appro- 
priated to the discretion of the Legislature. Especially ac- 
tive at this time in behalf of canal interests were Messrs. 
George Clinton, R. R. Hefford and Capt. M. M. Drake. 

Subsequent efforts were made both in respect to safe- 
guarding the canal by constitutional provision and also in 
the Legislature, where, in March, a resolution of the Mer- 
chants' Exchange was presented urging the enactment of 
the bill appropriating $12,000,000 for canal improvement. 

The State election of that year was made by the Mer- 
chants' Exchange the occasion of a most vigorous canal 
campaign. Every effort was put forth to secure a favorable 
vote on the canal amendments. Committees were appointed 
to work at the polls ; thousands of circulars were distributed ; 
2000 silk badges, testifying that the wearer was a friend of 
the canal, were sent out. The effort was justified. All of 
the canal amendments were carried. These amendments 
(embodied in Article 7, Sections 8, 9 and 10), in effect pro- 
vide that the Legislature of the State shall not sell or lease 
the State canals, that no tolls shall be imposed on the traffic, 
that repairs and superintendence shall be paid for out of the 
annual tax and that further improvement should rest in the 
hands of the Legislature. 

On March 9, 1895, Governor Morton signed the 
$9,000,000 canal bill. In September of that year the Mer- 
chants' Exchange delegation to the International Deep 
Waterways Association at Cleveland confined their efforts to 


getting recognition of the desirability of Erie canal im- 
provement. For the next half dozen years the Exchange 
continued constant in its attention to canal interests. 

In 1S99, Governor Roosevelt called for a definite formu- 
lation of the State canal policy and appointed a special com- 
mittee, of which Gen. Francis V. Greene was chairman, to 
investigate and report. The work of that committee and its 
elaborate report 1 are familiar to all students of the subject. 
It belongs to the present paper, however, to note that in 
connection with the inquiries made by that committee — one 
meeting being held on the floor of the Buffalo Exchange for 
the taking of testimony — the Harbor and Canal Committee 
of the Buffalo Merchants' Exchange, May 18, 1899, adopted 
resolutions in favor of canal improvement "by enlarging the 
locks to the largest practicable dimensions," and by providing 
a depth in the canal of nine feet, and an available draught to 
vessels of eight feet. 

A meeting of canal men, held at the Buffalo Merchants* 
Exchange on this same 18th of May, adopted resolutions in 
favor of "immediate enlargement of the locks to a length 
of 260 feet, width of 26 feet and depth of 11 feet," and 
recommended a deepening of the canal to 9 feet with 8 feet 
of available draught. "The Canal Enlargement Associa- 
tion," which included many members of the Merchants' 
Exchange, endorsed these views. Prominent members of 
the Exchange, notably the Hon. George Clinton and R. R. 
Hefford, wrote to the committee, stating their views at 

Other canal meetings in Buffalo followed. It was a 
crucial time in the history of the canal system in the State. 
The Merchants' Exchange rose again to the emergency. It 
raised a fund of some $10,000 which included several large 
subscriptions from outside sources to carry on an educa- 
tional campaign, and it is but fair to record that it did more 
to rouse the people of the State of New York to the im- 
portance of the canal question than any other organization 
in the State. 

1. "Minutes and correspondence of the Committee on Canals of New 
York State," New York, 1900. Svo. pp. 287. 


As time went on, the canal proposition changed. By 
1902 we find the State committed to the thousand-ton barge 
canal. In behalf of this the Exchange was very active and 
the measure itself was, no doubt, in large degree due to the 
untiring work and earnest representations of the Buffalo 

From the day of its organization to the present hour, the 
Buffalo Board of Trade and the organizations which under 
other names in later years have continued its history, has 
been first, last and all the time the staunch supporter of the 
canal system of the State. 

As our narrative shows, it has championed many good 
causes and accomplished many things, but its greatest work, 
by no means yet ended, has been in connection with its 
promotion of interests pertaining to this inland waterway. 

XII. The Grade Crossings Campaign. 

In all the long campaign which has helped to rid Buffalo 
of dangerous railroad crossings at grade, the Merchants' 
Exchange was active. It was the people themselves who 
took the initiative. What with the delay and loss of busi- 
ness due to obstruction of crossings, and the appalling 
slaughter of men, women and children, it is small wonder 
that the community as a whole cried out that an end be put 
to the outrageous situation. The press, the Common 
Council and the Merchants' Exchange, all had a part in 
bringing about a practical method of relief. Long before 
the Grade Crossings Commission of Buffalo was created, 
the evil of the situation was considered, with plans for its 
abatement: by Peter Emslie in 1856, when the evil was in 
its infancy; by Joseph Churchyard in 1874, when it had 
grown threatening; and again, in later years, by the Ex- 
change. Buffalo will always be thankful that Robert B. 
Adam became head of that commission. His ability, his 
perseverance and sagacity, were exerted in this matter and 


in behalf of Buffalo unceasingly throughout the last fourteen 
years of his life. But it was the Merchants' Exchange, of 
which he was president in 1888, that drew him into the 
work. He himself made record to that effect: 

"One day in September, 1S87 — the 10th, I think — Secretary 
Thurstone asked me if I would be willing to go to Albany as one of 
a committee from the Merchants' Exchange, to attend a hearing 
before the State Railroad Commissioners upon a proposed plan for 
abolishing a number of the most troublesome grade crossings in 
Buffalo. At that time I knew little, and cared less, about the grade 
crossings question; I had no desire to travel to Albany; and I de- 
clined the invitation." 1 

That Mr. Adam changed his mind and went, and that he 
subsequently became chairman of the Grade Crossings Com- 
mission, is not only familiar history, but fortunate for Buf- 
falo. The public should be equally familiar with some 
features of the part in that great work which was borne by 
the Buffalo Merchants' Exchange. 

Not to make a long story of it, we may begin with that 
special meeting of the Merchants' Exchange held on Oc- 
tober 27, 1887, "to receive the report of the special committee 
appointed to meet the Board of Railroad Commissioners of 
the State of New York, on the matter of railroad crossings 
at grade in the city of Buffalo." This committee, consisting 
of Hon. Philip Becker, R. B. Adam, Jacob Dold, George 
Sandrock and E. B. Wilbur, along with delegations from 
the Common Council and various Buffalo organizations, had 
attended a hearing before the State Railroad Commission, 
in Albany, and made their plea in behalf of their city. 

The meeting on 'Change of October 27th was a notable 
one. It was not only one of the largest in the history of the 
Exchange, but one of the most earnest and fruitful. Secre- 
tary Thurstone read the report of the committee, detailing 
their part in the Albany hearing of September 13th; of 
subsequent meetings, at the Merchants' Exchange on Sep- 
tember 28th, when resolutions were adopted favoring (in 

I. "History of the Abolition of Railroad Grade Crossings in the City of 
Buffalo," by Robert B. Adam, in Publications, Buffalo Historical Society, vol. 
viii (1905), pp. 151, 152. 


general) the elevation of the tracks and depression of the 
streets; and of meetings held October 14th and 226., jointly 
with committees from other bodies. 

It is unnecessary here to trace, meeting by meeting, the 
successive steps taken by this Joint Committee. Through 
all the negotiations with the railroads, the securing of legis- 
lation, the overcoming of obstacles of all sorts, the Ex- 
change bore its part. In February, 1888, it endorsed and 
gave approval to the bill providing for the appointment of a 
grade-crossings commission "with power to adopt plans 
and enforce them/' Two years later (January 21, 1890), 
we find the Merchants' Exchange endorsing the amended 
bill and sending a strong delegation to Albany in its behalf. 
As time passed, the need of enlarging the powers of the 
commission was seen. A public hearing, held at the Mer- 
chants' Exchange, February 6, 1892, voiced public senti- 
ment in a set of vigorous resolutions ; and on February 9th 
another delegation at Albany spoke for the Merchants' Ex- 
change in demanding that the Grade Crossings Commission 
be given power to compel the railroads to act in the matter 
This led to the passage of the Act which was signed by the 
Governor and became law, April 20, 1892. The Exchange 
helped to bring about subsequent legislation tending in gen- 
eral to strengthen the hands of the Grade Crossings Com- 
mission. In 1897, Mr. R. B. Adam, as chairman of the 
Exchange committee on Railroad Street Crossings at Grade, 
made an elaborate report, covering the work of the past 
five years. It is an admirable report, and records one of 
the most notable contests in the history of Buffalo. Actual 
work with pick and shovel, for the abolition of the obnoxious 
crossings, was begun May 22, 1895 ; and after Mr. Adam 
made his report to the Exchange, grade-crossing matters 
ceased to be prominently before that body. It was "a thing 
done." It should be added, however, as the records show, 
that from first to last, many members of the Exchange, in 
one capacity and another, often with much labor and per- 
sonal sacrifice, have devoted themselves to this work. 


XIII. Relations with other Organizations. 

Buffalo interests were represented through its Board of 
Trade at the National Ship-Canal Convention held in 
Chicago, June 2 and 3, 1863; A. M. Clapp, a prominent 
journalist of Buffalo, was one of its secretaries, and George 
S. Hazard was a member of the committee on nominations. 
Among the works which the convention thought the Federal 
Government should undertake, were, the construction of a 
ship canal around Niagara Falls, and the enlargement of 
the locks on the Erie and Oswego canals, so that iron-clad 
gunboats 25 feet wide and 200 feet long, drawing not less 
than 6 feet 6 inches of water, could reach Buffalo and the 
lakes from the seaboard by an all-American route. This 
desire was a natural outcome of the issues and alarms raised 
by the Civil War. The convention, just before adjourn- 
ment, adopted a resolution inviting the Boards of Trade of 
cities interested, to cooperate towards the attainment of the 
objects which the convention had set forth. Statistics col- 
lected by the Buffalo Board of Trade, especially of bread- 
stuffs shipped eastward for exportation, are incorporated 
in the report of this convention. 

Many of the New York delegates accepted an invitation 
to visit St. Louis ; among those who did so were a numbei 
from the Buffalo Board of Trade including President 
Hazard, John Allen, Jr., and Henry W. Rogers. They were 
formally received in the court house, and welcomed by 
Governor Gamble of Missouri and Mayor Falley of St. 
Louis. Speaking for his associates and for the Buffalo 
Board of Trade, Mr. Hazard said: 

"I cannot let this occasion pass without expressing my sincere 
thanks for the kindness and courtesy which have been extended to 
this delegation by the citizens of St. Louis; and permit me through 
you, Mr. Governor, and through you, Mr. Mayor, in the name of the 
Buffalo Board of Trade, to extend the hand fraternal and commer- 
cial to the citizens of St. Louis. We desire," he continued, "to cul- 
tivate and establish reciprocal commercial relations which shall re- 
main and increase, and cement the East with the West in one great 
fraternal union of interest forever." 


Mr. Hazard outlined the projects which had been under 
consideration at Chicago, and astonished his hearers by the 
statistics of grain movement at Buffalo — 12,000,000 bushels 
in 1850, nearly 73,000,000 bushels in 1862 — and he concluded 
with a touch of pleasantry which the assemblage did not 
fail to appreciate : 

"Mr. Chairman, Buffalo, as the half-way house between the 
Mississippi and Atlantic, holds out her hand to you. We want your 
flour, your corn, your wheat and provisions — and we want your 
hemp, unless you think you can make better use of it at home; and 
I trust the time is not far distant, when your far-famed iron moun- 
tain, now reposing like a coy maiden to be wooed, on your plains 
must come to our embrace. We shall accept your polite invitation 
to visit this great phenomenon, but we shall respectfully ask that our 
morning call be returned in the usual liberal manner peculiar to this 
country, by heavy metallic instalments." 

On one subject which came up time and again, cham- 
pioned by many boards of trade and individuals, both in 
and out of Congress, the Buffalo Board of Trade was uni- 
formly and consistently obdurate. That was the Niagara 
Ship Canal. Ship canals around the falls had been proposed 
in very early days ; and advocated, after surveys and elabo- 
rate reports, from 1835, at intervals through nearly four 
decades. In December, 187 1, a Niagara Ship Canal con- 
vention was held at Detroit. The Buffalo Board of Trade 
did not send delegates, but prepared instead an able argu- 
ment against the proposed construction. This argument, in 
printed form, was laid before the convention. The Buffalo 
Board, while expressing a deep interest in all feasible pro- 
jects for cheapening transportation, pronounced the Niagara 
Ship Canal unnecessary and useless in the attainment of 
that object. It protested against any Federal appropriation 
therefor, holding that the national finances did not warrant 
such an outlay, and — an even stronger argument — that if 
built, the canal would benefit foreign commerce at the ex- 
pense of our own. It claimed that the true solution of the 
question which the Detroit convention had under discussion, 
was the improvement of the Erie Canal, and the cheapening 
of transportation from the West by that route. 


The outcome of the convention, in view of the wide 
attention which it attracted, and the heat which marked its 
deliberations, suggests the "ridiculous mouse" of old iEsop. 
Resolutions were adopted asking "Representatives in Con- 
gress to do all in their power to procure an appropriation" 
to build the canal. Nothing followed ; and although the 
Niagara Ship Canal scheme is almost perennial in its cheer- 
ful reappearance, it is apparently as far from realization as 
it was in 1871, 1863 or 1835. 

It is unnecessary to dwell upon the share which the 
Buffalo Board of Trade has had, throughout its long life, in 
gatherings of a national or international character, except 
in cases where its advocacy of a special policy was pro- 
ductive of a marked effect. It has been represented, year 
after year, at a variety of conventions and councils, some- 
times by a single earnest member, often by a formally- 
named committee, now and then — especially at Albany — by 
a train-load of members and their business associates, 
armed with arguments and statistics for the accomplishment 
of some needed reform. Chief of these interests for which 
it has thus labored has been the canal system of the State. 
Buffalo harbor interests and necessities, harbors and chan- 
nels on the lakes, railway transportation problems, have all 
in turn and through many years, received the attention of 
the Board through its delegations. Sometimes the battles 
have been sharp, very often they have been long; and in a 
great majority of the causes which it has championed, the 
Buffalo Board of Trade has won. It has always had good 
fighters in its ranks; and its influence is stamped not only 
on the laws of New York State, but on those of the General 
Government relating to the highway of the Great Lakes and 
various international aspects of commerce. 

At an "International Commercial Convention" held at 
Baltimore in September, 1871, George S. Hazard, who rep- 
resented the Buffalo Board of Trade, was made chairman of 
the New York delegation. There were twenty-seven large 
topics before the convention for discussion; but Mr. Hazard 
not only introduced, but carried through to a unanimous 
adoption, a resolution which stated that, as the tonnage of 


the Erie Canal, in connection with the commerce of the 
great lakes, was strictly national in its character, "it is 
eminently proper that the General Government should take 
such measures, in connection with the State of New York, 
for such enlargement and increase of tonnage capacity as 
shall tend to cheapen the cost of transportation between 
the western and eastern states, thereby adding to the 
material wealth of the country." It is interesting to note 
that not only the Buffalo Board of Trade, but many other 
commercial and industrial organizations, representing all 
parts of the country, thus went on record as in favor of 
Federal aid for the New York canal system. 

In the next year (January 17-20, 1872) we find Mr. 

Hazard in attendance at the annual meeting of the Do 
minion Board of Trade at Ottawa, sharing in a discussion 
on freer intercourse and the removal of certain constraints 
to business between Canada and the United States. 

In 1867 the Board had taken membership in the National 
Board of Trade. The annual cost of this membership was, 
usually, about $150, was regarded as a burden, and it was a 
matter of much discussion whether the Buffalo organization 
received its money's worth. In 1869, when the annual dues 
of the National organization were $285, the Buffalo Board 
invited the National Board to hold its meeting for 1870 in 
Buffalo. Considerable enthusiasm was shown by the mem- 
bers and $2460 were collected to meet the expenses of the 
National Convention and entertainment of visitors. 

The Buffalo meeting of the National Board of Trade 
in December, 1870, brought to the local organization a 
marked stimulus. The National Board at this time had a 
membership of about forty commercial organizations, with 
a total enrollment of some 17,000 merchants and shippers. 
The Buffalo Board of Trade appointed committees and 
made adequate preparation for reception and entertainment. 
President Charles G. Curtiss was especially active, as were 
the executive committee, made up of P. S. Marsh, James D. 
Sawyer, F. W. Fiske, James S. Lyon and John B. Manning. 
Henry A. Richmond, also, as chairman of the reception 


committee, was an active and worthy representative of his 

The meetings of the National Board, December 7th to 
10th, were held in the council chamber of the City Hall, 
and were attended not only by a large representation from 
the Buffalo Board of Trade, but by interested citizens gen- 
erally. President Curtiss, in behalf of Buffalo and its 
Board of Trade, welcomed the visitors in a pleasant address. 

Among the subjects which received the especial attention 
of the delegates, were : Restrictions on internal trade, direct 
importation to interior cities, inland transportation, the 
practice of railroads in issuing bills of lading for grain, 
grain inspection, etc. In several of these discussions the 
Buffalo members bore an active part. Other subjects which 
were reported on at length by the executive council, or 
discussed in convention, were civil service reform, the postal 
service, improvement of waterways, Pacific railroads, and 
the need of the establishment of a Department of Commerce 
by the General Government. 

Numerous social attentions and entertainments marked 
the occasion, culminating in a banquet at the Tifft House, 
tendered to the visiting delegates by the Buffalo Board of 
Trade. In the long list of toasts, that of "The Buffalo 
Board of Trade and City of Buffalo" was happily responded 
to by George B. Hibbard. 

So far as the local Board was concerned, the most im- 
portant feature of the meeting was No. XX. on the official 
programme, proposed by the Buffalo Board of Trade under 
the following head : "The importance of inland transpor- 
tation by water, and the maintaining and improving thereof, 
by State and National authority, as a commercial necessity 
in controlling and cheapening the cost of transportation of 
the great products of the country." 

George S. Hazard presented this subject to the conven- 
tion in a long and able speech in which he dwelt upon the 
national character of the Erie Canal, and advocated Federal 
aid for its enlargement and maintenance. Resolutions 
embodying this view brought on a lively debate, but were 


finally referred to the Executive Council for report a year 

Buffalo continued its membership in the national or- 
ganization until 1873, when a proposition to withdraw was 
considered and the Board voted to sever its connection with 
the National Board; but that the local members were by no 
means of one mind in the matter, is shown by the numerous 
reversals of decision, and the vote to withdraw was shortly 
after rescinded and membership continued. In June, 1875, 
the Board did withdraw from the national organization, 
alleging that its membership was not productive of any 
good to Buffalo and that the annual meeting, usually held in 
June, came at a time when the Buffalo merchants and ship- 
pers were too busy to attend. This, however, was not the 
end of it. In 1S78, when the National Board was to hold a 
notable meeting in Washington, the Buffalo organization 
decided to be represented and Captain E. P. Dorr, J. B. 
Manning and William Thurstone attended as the Buffalo 

In 1888 the Exchange sent delegates to the meeting of 
the National Board, who made on their return a very full 
report on many subjects of National import. In this year 
the Merchants' Exchange became a constituent member of 
the National body, which relation has since continued. It 
is entitled to send four delegates annually, the yearly fee 
being $20 each. 

Another organization whose work for a time received the 
attention and aid of the Buffalo Board of Trade was the 
American Cheap Transportation Association. In May, 
1873, delegates from commercial bodies in several states 
met in New York and perfected an organization which 
convened in Washington on January 14, 1874. The delegates 
from the Buffalo Board of Trade were W. H. Abell, P. S. 
Marsh, W. II. H. Newman, E. P. Dorr, John II. Vought 
and John B. Griffin. The gathering apparently did little 
beyond giving forcible expression to the views of its dele- 
gates. They condemned the creation of railway corpora- 
tions without capital, the "watering" of stock, and the "in- 
side rings" of directors who acted in opposition to the inter- 


ests of stockholders. They recommended a National Bureau 
of Commerce and Transportation; and proposed that each 
State should create a board of railroad commissioners, hav- 
ing power to make and regulate freight rates on all lines 
doing business in the State. They condemned land grants 
and subsidies in every form, but recommended that the 
Government should construct roads and canals by letting 
the work, so far as concerns railroads, to the lowest bidder, 
and that when completed, all comers should be allowed to 
run cars on them, subject to tolls. In its resolutions on 
water routes, the association favored the enlargement, at 
Federal expense, of the Erie Canal, and the improvement, 
also by the General Government, of the harbors and chan- 
nels of the Great Lakes. It must not be inferred that the 
Buffalo Board of Trade, or even its representation at the 
Washington convention, endorsed all the measures put. forth 
with the approval of the Cheap Transportation Association. 
Where those measures coincided with the policy of the 
Buffalo Board, especially on canal and lake matters, they 
were naturally given hearty support by the Buffalo men. 
The Board was represented at the second annual meeting 
of this association, at Richmond, Va., in December, 1874. 

Later (1892-3) we find the Exchange sharing in the 
work of the National Transportation Association ; the Lake 
Carriers' Association ; the Deep Waterways Convention — 
where the Buffalo men always opposed a deep waterway to 
the sea, but stoutly advocated deeper channels through the 
lakes — and (to mention but one more) the State Board of 
Trade, which the Merchants' Exchange helped to organize 
in 1891 and of which John N. Scatcherd (then president of 
the Exchange) was made first president. The special pur- 
pose of the State Board was "to keep track of and obtain 
legislation of benefit to the business interests of the State." 

The Chamber of Commerce was prominent in the Wash- 
ington conference, December 1907, which resulted in the 
formation of the National Council of Commerce. In the 
same year its representatives attended the Lake Mohonk 
Conference, the Peace and Arbitration Conference in New 
York, and the Foreign Commerce Convention at Washing- 


ton. It is recognized as an active force not only in munici- 
pal and State affairs, but in national and international 
matters as well. 

From about the time of the organization of the Mer- 
chants' Exchange, the merchants of Buffalo began to take 
a greater interest, or at least to show greater activity, than 
they had done in legislative matters of large import. It soon 
became a habit of the Exchange to refer to committees na- 
tional bills affecting in any way the business interests of 
Buffalo. Usually these committees reported strong reso- 
lutions which were sent to Washington ; often the resolu- 
tions were followed by delegations, so that in one way and 
another this organization increasingly made itself a force 
and exerted its influence at Washington in behalf of meas- \ 
ures deemed beneficial to this community and against meas- 
ures deemed harmful. It is unnecessary even were it prac- 
ticable to enumerate here all of these measures which have 
engaged the attention of the Merchants' Exchange in the 
past twenty years. Some of the more important of them 
may be referred to. In 1886 it endorsed the bill introduced 
by Congressman Weber for the permanent improvement of 
the Erie and Oswego canals and to secure the freedom of 
the same to the commerce of the United States. In 18S8 it 
favored the proposed appropriation of a million dollars for 
the canals — the measure known as the Cantor bill — and for 
which $650,000 were finally voted. In the same year, it 
continued its policy, already noticed in this sketch, of oppo- 
sition to the proposed ship canal around Niagara. The next 
year, we find it advocating at Albany the establishment of 
the State naval militia, the bill for which Governor Hill 
signed in June of that year. It was active in behalf of 
various amendments to the Inter-State Commerce bill. It 
urged the passage of a national bankruptcy act. In 1890 it 
vigorously opposed the Butterworth bill, taxing dealers in 
options and futures. In 1891, at Albany, it helped defeat 
the listing tax bill and other measures, while at Washington 
it opposed the free coinage bill and favored a repeal of the 
silver act of July 14. 1890. In 1892, the merchants of Buf- 
falo through their Exchange asked Congress to reduce the 



duty on barley to ioc per bushel. At Albany they asked 
Governor Flower to appoint a Buffalo man a member of the 
State Board of Railway Commissioners. "Ask and ye shall 
receive." The things sought for would probably not have 
been granted without this action of the Merchants' Ex- 
change, but as a result of their efforts they generally got 
what they wanted. In 1893, however, Governor Flower 
reappointed Michael Rickard of Albany to the State Board 
of Railway Commissioners. 

At a convention of commercial bodies in Washington, in 
September, 1893, the Merchants' Exchange was represented. 
The convention favored the repeal of the Sherman law. 
This gathering, known as the Sound Money Convention, 
urged upon the Government the maintenance of our money 
circulation on a par with gold and endorsed President Cleve- 
land in his call for an extra session on this subject. 

Three years later we find the Merchants' Exchange ad- 
dressing Congress again, urging the cancellation and retire- 
ment of the greenbacks and treasury notes. At this period 
it paid large attention to the National financial policy which 
was then the paramount issue before the country. And so in 
later years it has continued alert and watchful of all meas- 
ures, whether relating to State or National matters, likely 
to affect for good or ill the welfare of its home community. 

No committee of recent years has proved more useful 
than the Transportation Committee organized in 1884. We 
find it the next year recommending to the Exchange that 
the General Government be urged to complete certain lake 
channels and to improve shallow harbors. A committee, 
headed by Alonzo Richmond, made a most thorough and 
excellent report of freight rates and the relations between 
railway and canal routes. In the summer of 1886 a Freight 
Bureau was formed, which collected information for the 
shippers of Buffalo. Its letters and pamphlets advertised 
the city in a new and desirable way. An early outcome of 
its efforts was the abolition of certain discriminations in 
freight rates, especially those which had operated against 
the live-stock business. The Bureau followed this up with 
reports of delay in the delivery of cars at elevators ; and that 


evil was lessened. It soon brought about a regulation of 
rates charged for unloading. In 1888 we find established 
through its efforts a uniform method of handling car grain. 
The next year in response to an invitation from the Ex- 
change, the State Railroad Commission held a session in 
Buffalo, resulting in a report and recommendations satis- 
factory to the Exchange. 

Among the large achievements which apparently should 
be accredited in their inception to this Transportation Com- 
mittee are those of charter revision as taken up in 1890 and 
the grade crossings work. In March, 1890, the committee 
reported the draft of a bill to prevent extortion or discrimi- 
nation for the transportation of passengers and freight. It 
was an early step in a long fight, in which the Merchants' 
Exchange through this committee kept well at the front. 
In the spring of 1893 a special committee argued at Albany 
in favor of the Railroad Discrimination bill. 

Work in this field was accomplished year after year. In 
1898 new by-laws reorganized the committee, providing for 
the Niagara Frontier Freight Bureau of the Buffalo Mer- 
chants' Exchange, under a board of twenty managers. 

In 1903, owing to changed conditions, the Freight Bureau 
was discontinued and the Transportation Committee in large 
measure now covers this field. 

It has secured reduction of rates on many classes of 
freight and has brought about a much better state of affairs 
than existed when it was organized, almost a quarter of a 
century ago. 

The miscellaneous city matters which have been pro- 
moted by the institution whose achievements we trace, even 
in the last twenty years, would make a list too long to in- 
clude here. Some of them, however, should have mention. 

In 1886 we find at work a special committee on charter 
revision, another calling for better fire protection for harbor 
interests. The next year we find the Exchange protesting 
against overhead wires and electric cables in the business 
district, with a result that a great mass-meeting was held 
calling on the offending companies to bury their wires. And 
the wires were buried. 


In March, 1888, at a special meeting- of the Exchange, it 
was suggested that invitations be sent to the Democratic 
and Republican organizations of the State, inviting them to 
hold their State convention in Buffalo. This effort was re- 
warded. Both the conventions were brought to Buffalo, the 
Board spending something like $2500 for incidental ex- 
penses and the city profited by the large influx of visitors. 

The next year the Exchange took the initiative in form- 
ing, with other organizations, the Citizens' Association of 

In 189 1 its Postal Committee reported on desirable site? 
for a new postoffice. In 1893, it was active in behalf of a 
reduction of telephone rates and then, as in many other 
years, it favored measures for improving the harbor, both 
the inner and the outer, for enlarging the slips and canals; 
and it especially favored the charter which became a law 
March 27, 1-891. Three years later it also advocated the 
amendments to the charter which Governor Flower signed 
February 21, 1894. 

It is interesting to note that at a meeting of the Ex- 
change, April 13, 1893, resolutions were adopted protesting 
against legislation at Albany which sought to reorganize 
the Police Department of Buffalo without giving the citizens 
a chance to be heard. It was then resolved as the sense of 
the meeting that "the Legislature should not pass or the 
Governor approve any further bills relating to the city of 
Buffalo without such measure first receiving the sanction 
of the Mayor, of the Common Council and the city of Buf- 
falo." This was emphatically a demand for home rule in 
Buffalo. A citizens' meeting was held under the auspices 
of the Merchants' Exchange, and from this movement of 
1893 there came about the present system by which measures 
pending before the Legislature relating to the home affairs 
of Buffalo must be submitted to the city's representatives 
before enactment. 

The fact that Governor Flower signed the $60,000 ap- 
propriation bill for Ohio Basin improvements March 19, 
1894, was chiefly due to the insistence of the Merchants* 


The next year we find that body urging- legislation in 
favor of more rapid transit in Buffalo, taking a stand in 
favor of a bridge to Grand Island, endeavoring to solve the 
excursion dock puzzle, etc.; and joining in an invitation 
to the National Educational Association to meet in Buffalo 
in 1896. 

More and more it took an active part in a greater number 
of city subjects. It turned its attention to school reform 
and meetings of the Citizens' Association were held on 
'Change in 1895. In later years it has been an earnest advo- 
cate of the establishment of trade schools and a technical 
high school. Twelve years ago the Merchants' Exchange 
told the city that there must be better police protection for 
harbor interests and after the usual struggle appropriations 
for such protection were made. 

In 1895 it promptly endorsed the invitation of the Grand 
Army Posts of the city which brought to Buffalo the Na- 
tional Encampment, G. A. R., in 1897, in behalf of which 
and during which it gave its services and its financial aid. 

At the request of the Merchants' Exchange, joined to 
that of the Common Council, a new steamer of the Cleveland 
& Buffalo Transit Company was named "City of Buffalo." 

As early as 1895 it favored the establishment here of a 
Forestry Bureau, a measure which, though opposed in many 
quarters, has finally won the necessary legislative sanction, 
and is now, in 1908, having its first trial in Buffalo. 

Through a formal request from the Exchange to the 
Postoffice Department, March, 1895, improved mail service 
and letter distribution, especially of Buffalo letters in New 
York, was brought about. This was for the better expedi- 
tion of business depending upon letters mailed in Buffalo 
late in the day. 

From about 1896, when various questions connected with 
the bringing of electric power to Buffalo became prominent, 
the Exchange has taken many helpful steps in the matter. 
It was on October 15, 1S96, that the first electric power 
from Niagara Falls was received in this city by the Buffalo 
Street Railway. On the evening of January 12th following 
Buffalo celebrated this electrical transmission with a great 


banquet. Nikola Tekla was present and the Merchants' 
Exchange was largely represented. 

The extension of the outer breakwater to Stony Point; 
additional fire tugs in the harbor; the erection in Buffalo 
of a Marine Hospital; the revision of smoke ordinances; 
the establishment of public play-grounds ; the erection in 
Buffalo of the State monument to President McKinley — 
these and scores of other achievements for the benefit of 
Buffalo must be credited to the efforts of the Merchants' 
Exchange and Chamber of Commerce. 

The Bureau of Conventions and Industries, established 
in April, 1899, played for a time an important part in the 
v/ork of the organization. A man well fitted for this ser- 
vice, Mr. Curt M. Treat, was appointed secretary in May, 
and served until 1904. His peculiar energy and fitness for 
the task brought probably half a million visitors to Buffalo 
before 1902. The Pan-American Exposition Company 
subscribed $1500 to aid the work of the Bureau and during 
the Exposition season of 1901 over three hundred different 
conventions, some of them attended by thousands of dele- 
gates, were held in Buffalo. Since that time the Bureau 
has continued its work with satisfactory results. 

From first to last the Board of Trade, Merchants' Ex- 
change and Chamber of Commerce have been the city's chief 
representative as host for distinguished guests. Not to go 
too far back, it is interesting to note that from about the 
time the Merchants' Exchange became well established in 
its Seneca-street home, it began to entertain distinguished 
visitors. Sometimes these visitors were representatives of 
foreign governments, oftener they were Congress commit- 
tees investigating certain subjects. September 15, 1891, 
distinguished members of the United States Senate — Senator 
Morrill of Vermont and Senator McPherson of New Jersey 
— came to Buffalo and on the 16th were given a hearing at 
the Exchange to assist them in their investigation of United 
States trade relations with Canada. Some months earlier 
in that year, the Senate Committee on Trade Relations, 
headed by the Hon. George S. Hoar of Massachusetts, had 
been given also a hearing at the Exchange, and in July the 


Congressional Committee on Harbors and Rivers was the 
guest of the Merchants' Exchange, to the ultimate advantage 
of Buffalo. 

In 1899 among the distinguished guests were Lord 
Charles Beresford and Admiral Sampson, a reception being- 
given to the latter on December 15th. Admiral Schley has 
also been the guest of the Exchange. In 1900 the River 
and Harbor Committee of Congress visited Buffalo. The 
Merchants' Exchange took entire charge of the party and 
made sure that nothing was overlooked necessary to impress 
upon them the need of adequate harbor appropriation at 
this point. 

The next year, the visitors' book records the names of 
Mark Hanna, of Vice-President Roosevelt, of Governor 
Odell, and numerous foreign representatives, the presence 
of many of these, of course, being due to the Pan-American 
Exposition of that year. 

Comparatively recent social events of note include the 
entertainment of the Honorary Board of Filipino Commis- 
sioners, June 25th and 26th, 1904; of Prince Pu Lun, rep- 
resentative of the government of China at the St. Louis 
Exposition ; and one of the most notable social incidents in 
the history of the Chamber of Commerce, the reception of 
the Iron and Steel Institute. 

XV. The Chamber of Commerce. 

Early in 1903 steps were taken to change the name of the 
Buffalo Merchants' Exchange to the Chamber of Commerce 
of Buffalo. By order of the Supreme Court, May 19th, the 
Exchange was authorized to assume the name "Chamber of 
Commerce of Buffalo," on and after July 1, 1903. The 
change indicates the increased scope in the work of the 
organization. "To increase its power for good in the com- 
munity," "to create a broader public spirit among our citi- 
zens," were phrases in President Dodge's address of Janu- 
ary 13, 1904, which fairly show the spirit that prompted 
the change. It was desired to reach, to interest and to 


affiliate as many classes of Buffalo's business men as pos- 

After some months of negotiation the Board of Trade, 
on March 20, 1905, voted to buy the ''Granite Block/' 
having a frontage of JJ feet on the west side of Main 
Street, 44 feet north of Seneca ; and also to buy the 40 feet 
on Seneca, adjoining the Board of Trade building on the 
east. The purchase of these properties, at approximately 
$250,000, gave the Board of Trade the whole Seneca-street 
frontage between Pearl and Main, except the Main-street 
corner occupied by the Bank of Buffalo. The new purchase 
surrounded this property on the north and west; and on it, 
in September, 1905, the old buildings having been torn 
down, work was begun on a thirteen-story structure which 
when finished towered high above the dome-capped bank 
on the corner, and seemed to embrace and shelter it — sym- 
bolizing, obviously, the relations of the city's commercial 
and banking interests. 

The new building was planned by Green & Wicks, archi- 
tects. It is of steel-frame construction, fireproof, the exte- 
rior in semi-glazed terra cotta. In design it is described 
as "modern French," with a balcony at the twelfth story, a 
high railing above the cornice, and ample window space. 
Six elevators give rapid transit for all floors ; and in its 
interior w T ork, plumbing, electric lighting, etc., the building 
is a good example of modern office construction, uncom- 
monly attractive in finish and furnishing. It cost approxi- 
mately $400,000, and was so planned as to connect with the 
older building, making one interior with convenient arrange- 
ment of offices, hallways, elevators, etc., and with a mini- 
mum amount of change in the oldest part. It furnished the 
additional space that had been needed, with much desirable 
renting room. Handsome offices on the ground floor were 
fitted up for the Columbia National Bank; this and other 
businesses located there have already made the Chamber of 
Commerce Building an important nucleus of commercial 
and banking interests. 

On April 18, 1907, the Chamber of Commerce gave a 
great dinner in celebration of the semi-centennial of the or- 


ganization — reckoning from the incorporation of the Board 

of Trade in 1857 — and the dedication of the new building-. 
The exercises included the formal presentation of the build- 
ing", by Robert R. HefTord, chairman of the building com- 
mittee, and its acceptance by President William H. Grat- 
wick. Chief among the guests was Governor Hughes, who 
spoke for "The State of New York," as Mayor Adam did 
for "The City of Buffalo," the Hon. W. Caryl Ely for "The 
Niagara Frontier," and Henry J. Pierce for the Chamber 
of Commerce. The occasion was of the sort that begets 
enthusiasm, and out of enthusiasm come results. One 
feature was "the campaign for 500 new members," entered 
into with spirit, and proving successful. By the spring of 
1908 the membership had reached 1500. 

In the five years that have passed since the establishment 
of the Chamber of Commerce: on its present basis, Buffalo 
has profited by its work in many ways. In 1903 the Western 
New York Canal Enlargement Association was formed, with 
committees on Publicity, Speakers, Finance, Election-Day 
Organization, etc. The result justified the effort, for the 
State vote gave a majority of over 245,000 in favor of canal 
enlargement under the law of 1903. 

The Buffalo Chamber of Commerce was and is among 
the most ardent advocates of this improvement. It also 
initiated the project, now well towards accomplishment, with 
$700,000 appropriated, for the construction of a ship canal 
and lock around the rapids in the Niagara at Black Rock. 
This is an achievement of its Niagara River Improvement 
Committee. Its Harbor Committee has not only worked in 
behalf of adequate Federal appropriations, but has secured 
from the city the deepening of Buffalo river and the ship 
canal to 23 feet. 

The Chamber of Commerce suggestion, in 1903, of an 
annual carnival for Buffalo, took root, and blossomed in 
1907 in the Old Home Week jollification. It has been, 
however, less concerned with the pleasures than the necessi- 
ties of Buffalo. Some of its efforts are put forth to bring 
business to Buffalo. More are directed towards improving 
the living conditions for the people of Buffalo. It brings 


conventions to the city. It plans and runs trade excursions 
to Buffalo. Other tours in the city, with an obvious pur- 
pose, are called ''Seeing Buffalo Grow" excursions. But it 
also keeps at work on what may be termed necessities of the 
city, among- which, now receiving its attention, are: the 
railway station problem; the further improvement of the 
harbor; the straightening of Buffalo river for flood abate- 
ment; the opening of a direct route from the business 
center to South Buffalo and the steel works in West Seneca ; 
the abatement of the smoke nuisance ; the extension of 
Elmwood Avenue; the establishment of a technical high 
school ; in short, any phase of our municipal life which calls 
for the attention of the public-spirited citizen, is regarded 
as properly within the sphere of activity of the Chamber of 
Commerce. It can turn from State or National affairs to 
offer prizes to school-boys — as it did in 1907, establishing 
two prizes, of $100 and $50, for the highest general average 
respectively in the day and night schools. 

In recent years it has brought about the affiliation of nu- 
merous bodies. In 1905 the Real Estate Association and 
the Retail Merchants' Board both entered into close relations 
with the Chamber. Something of the scope of its present 
work may be judged from the following list of existing 
committees, many of which are very much in earnest in 
prosecuting their special work: Arbitration, Banking, 
Barley and Malt, Canal, Civic Improvement, Convention, 
Finance, Grain, Harbor, Insurance, Manufacturers, Mem- 
bership, Municipal Legislation, Niagara River Improve- 
ment, Postal Service, Real Estate, Rooms and Fixtures, 
Technical High School, Transportation. Retail Merchants' 
Board. Under some of these committees are organized 
bureaus, such as the Bureau of Industrial Information, in 
the Manufacturers' Committee, which has collected and dis- 
tributed information regarding articles manufactured or 
handled by Buffalo factories. 

In Buffalo the Chamber of Commerce stands emphatically 
for cooperation. That it stands for much in the history of 
the city, the foregoing sketch proves. The outcome of the 
toil, the hopes and aspirations of the past, it is also a pledge 



and guarantee of the future ; and because of it — to adopt 
the phrase of the Hon. E. C. Spragite, in his remarks at the 
inauguration of the Merchants' Exchange Building in 1S84 
— "our city is richer in all the elements of human well- 
being, . . . the foundations of her prosperity are 
strong and sure." 

MERCE, FROM 1844 TO 1909. 


(Constituted, Jan. 16, 1844. Incorporated, Mch. 7, 1857-) 

George S. Hazard. 
George S. Hazard. 
Silas H. Fish. 
Phineas S. Marsh. 
Phineas S. Marsh. 
John H. Vought. 
S. Sturges Guthrie. 
Charles G. Cunis. 
James D. Sawyer. 
Alfred P. Wright. 
Charles A. Sweet. 
E. P. Dorr. 
Cyrus Clarke. 
Cyrus Clarke. 
Alonzo Richmond. 
William H. Abell. 
Jcwett M. Richmond. 
George Sandrock. 
John B. Manning. 


(Incorporated, Apr- 14. 1S82.) 


Russell H. Fleywood. 



Russell PI. Heywood. 



Russell H. Heywood. 



Henry Daw. 



Philo Durfee. 



George B. Walbridge. 



Hiram E. Ploward. 



Hiram E. Howard. 



Silas H. Fish. 



Samuel J. Holley. 



Hiram Niles. 



George S. Hazard. 



Merwin S. Hawley. 



George S. Hazard. 



James R. Bentley. 



Albert Sherwood. 



Charles J. Mann. 



Jason Parker. 



George S. Hazard. 


1882. James N. Scatcherd. 

1883. James N. Scatcherd. 

1884. Eric L. Hedstrom. 

1885. Eric L. Hedstrom. 

1886. Albert J. Wright. 

1887. James R. Smith. 

1888. Robert B. Adam. 

1889. John C. Graves. 





Peter C. Doyle. 

John N. Scalcherd. 
John N. Scatcherd. 
George Clinton. 
Robert R. Hefford. 
Robert R. HefTord. 
Robert R. Hefford. 


(Name of the former Merchants' Exchange since July 1, 1903,) 


Alonzo R. James. 


Robert R. Hefford. 


Alfred Haines. 


Alfred Haines. 


Ogden P. Letchworth. 


John J. McWilliams. 


Leonard Dodge. 

1904. James J. H. Brown. 

1905. Henry J. Pierce. 

1906. William H. Gratwick. 

1907. William H. Gratwick. 

1908. John W. Robinson. 

1909. Elliott C. McDougal. 



IN 1816-1817 




• ' - : ■ ■ ;- "- "■ v.- ■- '•■ . ■;■ ■ .'-•-■■■■ •.••:, 

■> 4 . ' 1 

"k I -5 


1 . 








'•■ ;; v ■ j 


1 i 


• -, •— * 2 



From «. Photograph Taken About 1866, in the possession of the 
Buffalo Historical Society. 



IN 18164817 


In 1816 the first surveys were made on which to base 
plans and estimates for the Erie Canal. My recollections 
of incidents in connection with those surveys are the sub- 
ject of this paper, being then a rodman of two of the 
engineering and surveying parties. 

We surveyed the portion called the Middle Division 
from Rome, westerly to Seneca river, and that portion of 
the Eastern Division, from Rome to Schoharie creek, in all 
154 miles. The remaining portion of the Eastern Division 
to Albany was not surveyed that year. The Western Di- 
vision from Seneca river to Buffalo was assigned to Judge 
James Geddes, of much note as a surveyor, explorer and 

The report of the surveys was required at an early 
period of the legislative session of 1817, which limited the 

1. Read at a meeting of the Buffalo Historical Society, at the author's 
residence, Jan. 15, 1866. Now first published from the original manuscript. 
Its value is by no means lessened because of the quaintness of the style. 
Though the poetical effusion with which Mr. Young concluded his reminis- 
cences may not be canal history, it happily recalls the early gatherings of the 
Historical Society, when friends and neighbors met in informal mood. The 
"club meetings" of those early years offered other than intellectual refresn- 
ment; yet the papers prepared for these meetings include some of the most 
valuable contributions that have been made to our local annals. 




field work to make timely arrangements for the maps, esti- 
mates and reports. 

My residence at that time was in Whitesboro, Oneida 
County, a village between Utica and Rome. 

Jonas Piatt and Thomas R. Gould, lawyers and states- 
men, resided there. Benjamin Wright, land surveyor, civil 
engineer and statesman, resided at Rome. These men were 
most prominent actors as legislators in incipient measures 
for the canal. As previously concerted between them, in 
1818 Judge Wright seconded the motion of Judge Forman 
for partial explorations of the country west of Seneca river 
for an interior line for a canal, so called in contra-distinc- 
tion to the canal route through Lake Ontario, Oswego river 
and Oneida lake, commonly accepted as the only feasible 
one for a water communication with Lake Erie. Thomas 
R. Gould, as chairman of the committee to which the reso- 
lution was referred, reported the joint resolution which 
was passed, and under it the survey was made. 

In 1810 Judge Piatt, a State senator and leader of the 
Federal minority of the Senate, influenced measures for 
engaging DeWitt Clinton, the leader of the Republican 
majority, to second the important legislative steps for the 
canal, he having declined to lead and make the motion, but 
seconded it and refrained from a speech on the question, 
thus freeing it from party influence. Mr. Clinton took an 
active part as a commissioner under this first measure, made 
the report and introduced the bill for further progress, and 
became a leader and champion of the Erie canal policy; 
and subsequently when the Federal party had the ascend- 
ency in the then council of appointment, Judge Piatt, as 
one of them, proposed Mr. Clinton as Mayor of New York 
City, and appointed him. 

Such were the men of my locality ; respected, honest and 
obeyed, and to follow them as leaders was the desire of 
him who directed my footsteps and procured for me occu- 
pation in the surveying and engineering parties of 1816 
and 1817. Thomas R. Gould was a member of Congress 
in 1817 and 1818, and procured for me a cadetship at West 
Point, and this ended my connection with the Erie canal 

CANAL SURVEYS, 1816-17. 335 

until after its whole completion and since, but collaterally 
in connection with making and operating - the railroad 
alongside. Other men of Oneida county will be named in 
this paper who were my seniors in years and knowledge ; and 
yet another class, after those first noted, such as Canvass 
White, Nathan T. Roberts and John B. Jervis, who have 
names and fame as projectors and makers of works of the 
Erie canal, infinitely beyond the reach of the influence of 
my weak and humble pen pretensions. 

Judge Wright organized his engineering and surveying 
party at Rome in June, 1816, and established stations and 
bench levels from which to commence his survey, and pro- 
ceeded westerly. 

Mr. Broadhead subsequently organized his party, and 
from the same station and level benches proceeded easterly 
for a connected survey. He had proceeded with the sur- 
vey to Herkimer, 31 miles of his portion to be surveyed, 
when Mr. Wright completed the JJ miles assigned to him. 
The method of the survey was as follows — and homely and 
unartistically described as it may be, yet the detail of small 
events is incident to the theme of this paper. 

The party consisted of 13 persons, to rank and station 
thus: A chief engineer, a surveyor, an assistant engineer, 
two rodmen, two chainmen, three axemen, a packman, a 
cook and a teamster. 

The surveyor, with an eye' to engineering skill, would 
take a course over ground of probable water level, then 
covered with large trees and small woods of hemlock, 
cedar, alder bushes and weeds, and sight an object (with- 
out flagmen), and note its compass bearing. Then, with 
compass and one arm, and staff in hand of other, would 
lead the way through swamp and swale, still eyeing the 
object ahead until reached. 

One axeman closely followed him, chopping bark from 
adjacent trees near the line. Two other axemen then cleared 
a pathway about four feet wide of bushes, weeds and all 
obstacles to level sighting. The chainmen then followed 
and established station stakes at four chain distances 
driven by one of them. At the foot of each stake a peg 


would be driven level to the surface of the ground, or on 
hard earth the heels of the rudinen's boots would make a 
solid standpoint for the rod to rest upon, that no variation 
in the base would take place between the forward and back 
sighting; also that in returning it would be a standard for 
new operations. Bench marks more permanent were the 
usual standards for level references of succeeding and 
repeating surveys. 

A prominent root of a tree just under a broad hewn sur- 
face would be found by hewing, to rest the rod upon, and 
its level marked on this surface for all succeeding ones. 

The assistant engineer then placed the leveling instru- 
ment intermediate to stations and nearly equidistant there- 
from, and screwed it to a level. The chief engineer then 
sighted on the graduated poles of the rodmen ; the one in 
the rear first and then the one in front, and from their 
reading would determine the rising or falling grounds and 
the variations from a water level by subtracting and addi- 
tions, requiring judgment to determine which of these to 
perform. The surveyor would note the distance at which 
water courses and farm lines would be crossed ; the kinds 
of timber passed through, and of the soil, whether sand, 
clay, loam, gravel, rock, stone, swamp and swale, and 
sketch surrounding objects as outlines for mapping pur- 
poses and estimates of costs. 

The engineer would note the level of water beds in 
inference to the water line, and other changes of general 
surface intermediate to stations; and when openings of 
bush and woodland enabled, would sight far away from the 
line, to determine the general slopes of the surrounding 

When at successive stations there resulted an evident 
ascending or descending surface, from the standard level, 
the surveyor would be hailed and retrograde steps taken to 
a station of suitable level and a course pursued as experi- 
mental as before, thus feeling the way for a water level. 
Ridges and points of land would carry the line of survey 
far to the north of the general course and the valleys of 
water courses, as far again to the south, to keep the water 

CANAL SURVEYS, 1816-17. 337 

level. In the final location of the canal these ridges were 
cut through and valleys filled up. 

Oneida lake, bordering the field of survey miles away on 
the north, indicated the practicability of a long water level 
which was the engineering principle of the survey, follow- 
ing its table lands until its borders were passed and the 
waters of Onondaga, Skaneateles and Owasco lakes 
changed the water level standard to suitable lock lifts and 
depressions according as feeders and supply of water for 
intermediate levels could be found. 

The packman brought up the rear with dinner sack 
on his back, and water can at his side, to replenish which 
he would seek for fresh running streams — a rivulet, a 
brook or gushing spring. And yet the pools of stagnant 
water were often drank from by the laboring men of the 
party, violently exercising in the foul, moist air of a dense 
forest in July and August heat, though so shaded from the 

A teamster, a cook, a two-horse covered wagon, stored 
with camp equipage and provisions, was the nucleus of the 
party. Its appendages were: A dog, a gun, two tin horns, 
camp kettles and frying pans ; and for table and furniture, 
a fallen tree, or a log, a hillock, a fresh-hewn chip for the 
piate, a pointed or forked stick for roasting-spit ; and a 
pocket jack-knife carried by each one of the party. Hard 
bread and salt pork constituted the standard bill of table 
fare, though fresh fish and small game, taken in exchange 
for pork with Indians of Oneida, occasionally gave savory 
odors from camp fires. 

The line of survey was in the general direction of the 
highway and turnpike from Rome and Utica westerly 
through Verona, Vernon, Oneida, Chittenango and Syra- 
cuse. Lateral roads to this crossed the line of survey 
leading to and around Oneida lake. By these crossroads 
the teamster and cook were taught to judge of proper 
localities for camping grounds to interrupt the line of sur- 
vey, and changed as directed by the chief engineer once or 
twice or perhaps three times a week. Dry ground, fresh 


water and hemlock boughs were requisites for camping 

Two tents and a portion of the baggage wagon well 
spread with foliage of the hemlock, odorous and fresh, 
upon which to spread blankets, afforded shelter and shade 
for sleep and rest: and waking dreams of the great work 
undertaken. The tin horn appended to the baggage wagon 
and one carried by the packman guided our steps to such 
resting places when in advance of the survey ; our steps 
would be retrograde to the camp more commonly than 
ahead, for nightly rest and shelter. 

Occasionally cleared fields and beginnings of cultivated 
farms would be crossed; also lands chopped, logged and 
underbrushed, abandoned to the rattlesnake, by whose rattle 
our steps were arrested, a death blow given the reptile and 
his tail rattle taken as a trophy and curiosity. 

Windfalls, acres wide and long, were in our way, with 
trunks of large trees prostrate and roots turned up, en- 
tangled and entwined, root with branch, and so filled in 
with second growth of bush and brier and noxious weeds 
as to be most formidable obstacles to get through with line 
and level. 

The line of survey passed some two miles south of 
Saliner [Salina] (Salt Point), so called. The novices of 
the party went in a body to see the salt-boiling process. 

At the crossing of the outlet of Skaneateles lake, called 
the Jordan river, a well cultivated farm bordered its banks ; 
these green fields and' still waters inspired longings for 
relief from the weary toils of swamp and thicket. The 
mosquitos swarmed about our faces and hands. The latter 
being fixed upon instruments requiring a steady purpose 
gave no weapon of defense to crush or brush off* the blood- 
sucking insect. Moss and bark, dry leaves and twigs, were 
stuffed into cylinders of oyster-keg size, of birch bark, and 
strung on shoulders, ignited to a smoking state, as some 
relief. A large tree was noted near our path, into the 
hollow of which all of our party entered through a small 
hole, cut in one of its sides, and stood elbow to elbow, facing 
inward, with backs against its inner side of shell, and still 

CANAL SURVEYS, iS 16-17. 339 

there was room for more. It was a buttonwood, and bulg- 
ing from the root, but shoulder high, assumed its body 
shape and size. 

A country woman, observer of our ways, expressed joy 
at the prospect of soft Lake Erie water for washing-days. 
She probably had read the report of 181 1 by the commis- 
sioner, who supposed the waters of Lake Erie would flow 
to Albany and then by locks, or railway planes, boats were 
to be let down into the Hudson river. 

The Seneca river was reached near and above Monte- 
zeumer [Montezuma], its water level noted as a connecting 
reference to any survey still westerly, and thus the field 
work of the survey of the Middle Division terminated. 

The party returned to Rome, some by baggage wagon, 
others by stage, and were discharged. The chief engineer 
and the surveyor made the maps, profiles and estimates as 
a report to the canal commissioners, who in course reported 
to the Legislature at the session of 1817, in the proceedings 
of which it may now be found. 

The present writer joined the surveying party descend- 
ing the Mohawk river and its encampment opposite Herki- 
mer village in the capacity of rodman, as before. Its man- 
ner of proceeding differed somewhat from that of the 
Middle Division. 

The cleared fields required a flagman for the surveyor 
and chainman by which to shape their courses. The de- 
scending grounds required lifts or depressions to be made 
and intermediate water levels pursued with a view to saving 
cost in construction, with constant care for river flood on 
one side and hill torrents on the other. 

Engineering skill was more exercised on this than on 
the Middle Division. The surveyor of this party, who led 
the way, learned by practice to take an early stand as most 
practical in canal making. The long level west of Rome 
induced its extension easterly, perhaps under undue influ- 
ence of Utica men. 

The baggage wagon, cook and tents were necessary, as 
almost every house on both sides of the river, although a 
tavern, was nightly filled with travellers, teamsters, drivers, 


etc. Oat straw was the substitute for bedding, in place of 
the odorous and fresh twigs of the hemlock, of the more 
western survey. 

A Yankee asked a Dutchman how his horses were made 
and kept so fat and sleek, and was informed that they were 
fed on oat straw but not half threshed. "Mien horse and 
mien self" was as quaint a saying with the then Mohawk 
Dutchman as is with us of more modern tastes and pre- 
tended refinement, "Strike my dog and you strike me." 

Our bills of fare were as in the common walks of life: 
coffee, tea, bread, meats, vegetables, fruits, fresh milk and 
butter, products of rich alluvial Mohawk flats, arable hill- 
sides and plains, beyond, then unsurpassed in fertility and 
productiveness, and with a class of people as epicurean in 
cuisine arts of English aristocracy as Sir William Johnson's 
family could disseminate. 

About the time of which I write, it was the custom of 
Mohawk valley men to fit out trains of teams for the 
West of— 

Chestnut, bays, 

Sorrel, grays, 

Black & roan, 

Shimmering under the curry-comb. 

With wagon-loads of 

Fruits and berries 

Jams and cherries 

Luscious, for the Genesee flattes, 

And loaded back 

With wheat and grains 

For the Mohawk plains 

And for the Albany market. 

In 1815 a "Young" man (the present writer) was clerk 
for Juba Storrs & Co. at Williams vilie, Erie county. Ben- 
jamin Caryl, deceased, a principal of the firm, was his 
uncle, and Gen. Storrs (now present) another principal 
and since a cousin by marriage. 

A period of ague and fever was endured till the fall 
season, when teams of such wagons as described were 
passing Williamsville easterly bound. A passage was taken 
and a seat resting upon the sideboards of the wagon base 


CANAL SURFEYS, 18 16-17. 341 

rode upon to a home near Utica, a distance of about two 
hundred miles. 

This line of survey was near to and crossing the high- 
way which enabled the baggage wagon and cook to be at 
hand, at all times wanted, and the packman's services un- 
necessary. The September and October season was con- 
venient for this survey. The meadows and grain fields 
were not injured by the tread of many persons. The 
mellow fields of the Mohawk flats were fresh sown with 
wheat, and its sprouting herbage was rich in view to the 
passing stranger. The butternut and shag-barked walnut 
afforded good pickings during leisure moments of the sur- 

High-toned families lived on rich, alluvial flats with 
habits which were relics of Sir William, Sir John and Col. 
Guy Johnson's Mohawk aristocracy. There were many 
negro slaves in the valley: colored men were the more 
common laborers in the field. 

A class of people of dark butternut complexion was 
common, called the black Dutch, companionable with the 
negro and apparently with his swine. 

The passage of the gorge of the Mohawk valley at 
Little Falls was far more beautiful than at present. The 
side hill cliffs and precipices were covered with evergreen 
foliage of the pine, hemlock and cedar, which the axe and 
fires of canal and railroad innovations have made bare. 
Pockets in the rocks were great curiosities ; they were quite 
regular in shape, some two or three feet in diameter and 
several feet deep. In one projecting cliff one of these 
pockets is open from top to a suspended base some twelve 
or fifteen feet through. In emerging from this narrow 
cragged and towering hill-pass are expanded Mohawk flats 
and gently rolling, sloping, arable lands, a pleasant view. 

Just there, on the south side of the valley. General Her- 
kimer's house and farm were prominent. He of Revolu- 
tionary fame fell in the battle of Oriskany. It was a large 
brick, gambrel-roofed house in a sightly location, but odd 
in more modern architectural rules. It is still to be seen 
from the railroad trains in passing. 


In it there lived at the time of passing- on this survey a 
family of some note and bearing, acquaintances of our chief 
engineer. He entertained them in sighting through the 
telescope of the leveling instrument, which reversed all 
objects looked at. Apparently, persons would be seen 
standing on their heads, heads of animals with feet in the 
air, trees standing on their boughs. This magic effect pre- 
ceded the surveying party in notoriety, and brought crowds 
of visitors to our camp and field operations to see the curi- 
osity. This annoyed our chief engineer beyond all descrip- 
tion, who was cross and crabbed, petulant and uncongenial, 
but with his set associates, Utica exclusives. 

Near and below Canajoharie there stood an antique 
building with end to the road and circular-roofed, with rear 
half burrowed in the hillside, and still within and under 
these might have been recesses in the rocks, caves, dens of 
safety, or evil contrivings. It was Kane's store in earlier 
times, a trading place of branches of a family of some pre- 
tension on the lower Mohawk and Hudson river valleys. 
A Yankee pedlar was brought before a Dutch magistrate 
at Canajoharie for violating the Sunday laws (so-called) 
prohibiting travelling on Sundays excepting with a mag- 
istrate's pass. With proper appliances the matter was set- 
tled and a pass procured which the Yankee was required 
to write and sign for the magistrate, the latter making the 
usual cross between the Christian name and surname. At 
length Kane's settlement day with his neighbors came and 
a bill for goods with order appended was presented to the 
magistrate, when he exclaimed: "Mein Gott, dat dam't 
Yankee pass!" 

At the nose of the valley, so called, the river turns east- 
erly and crosses directly through expanded flat lands to the 
mouth of Schoharie creek, passing Caughnewaga, the river 
depot for Johnstown, Sir William Johnson's home man- 
sion and farm ; he died in 1774. Sir John, a son, and Col. 
Guy Johnson, a son-in-law, succeeded to estates and Tory 
rule as well as to the confidence of Joseph Brant, an Indian 
chief — Thayendanegea, a (much questioned) warrior 
friend — 

CANAL SURVEYS, 1816-17. 343 

In whom there coursed the kindred tie 
Of Sir William, Sir John and Col. Guv. 
Thayendanegea's carnaged hand 
Is powerless now, all o'er the land. 
While threshold, bannister and door 
Bear marks of blood as with the floor. 
Where savage warfare, tory strife 
Made havoc with the scalping-knife. 
From Caughnewaga's mighty scare 

Peace and quiet now reign there. t 

At John's hall, Sir William's reign 
Was wide beyond the Mohawk plain 
Where Thayendanegea's savage band 
Knew no bounds within the land : 
But raging like the Mohawk flood 
Thro' work and defiles of the wood, 
'Of low-land, highland, crevice, glen 
The haunts of wild cats, fiends of men ! 
Like raging fires that burn within 
The very courts of Hell and Sin, 

Till satiate with blood and strife j 

They strung the scalps and sheathed the knife. 
Still rushes on the Mohawk tide 
Regardless of the world beside, 
Washing, bleaching, purging stains 
Of bloody carnage from its plains 
Till flesh and blood and whitened bone 
Are mingled with the earthly loam. 
Thus let the memories of the past 
Be tales for peaceful homes at last. 
And when the old folks join the "Young" 
In plays of frolic and of fun, 
They'll share the lot as seen by day, 
Vicissitudes of foolish play 
Which patiently they must endure 
Till learned with equals to mature 
Their plans for pastimes and for health 
Whose years are sweetened with the wealth, 

The honor, fear and love of God | 

With life to answer to His word. 

Mr. Broadhead's party terminated its field operations at 
Schoharie creek, returned to Utica and were severally dis- 


charged excepting the chief engineer and surveyor, who 
made returns of maps and estimates to the Canal Commis- 

Practical civil engineers were not classed excepting with 
the land surveyors and artizan. 

Locks and dams had been built under advisement of 
transient men of foreign practice as engineers to make navi- 
gation of the Mohawk river and Wood creek a passageway 
for boats of light burden. 

Turnpike roads with birdseye culverts, and beds of 
pounded stone, under promptings of McAdam readings, 
were made, requiring the skill and art of civil engineers. 

The prominent land surveyors of the district of country 
bordering the proposed line of canal were appointed en- 
gineers of the work and artizans of skill their assistants, 
who learned to plan with the progress of the work; and 
right well and at small costs were the first structures of the 
Erie Canal made. 

A candidate under examination for a certificate to teach 
school, showing no knowledge of the studies usually pur- 
sued, was asked how he expected to teach that which he 
didn't know, and replied, "I guess I can learn as fast as the 
boys." Judge Benjamin Wright became the chief engineer 
of the Erie Canal. His social and political position was in 
a high place at the outset of this work. He became a dis- 
tinguished consulting engineer, as works of internal im- 
provement became a prominent field for enterprise all over 
the United States and Canada. He was cooperative in his 
counsels and ways in general. His wisdom required no 
cloak of exclusiveness. Mr. C. C. Broadhead took no 
prominent and lasting stand as a civil engineer. 

Mr. Nathan S. Roberts was the surveyor of Judge 
Wright's party of engineers. He was a resident of 
Whitesboro (near Utica), taught school, where all made 
"manners" on entering or leaving schoolroom at session 
hours, surveyed land and superintended cotton factories. 
He punished severely with the ferule and rewarded with 
pictures of birds and animals, drawn and painted to please 
the youthful eye. His plottings and maps of land surveys 



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CANAL SURVEYS, 1816-17. 345 

were accurate, plainly and neatly drawn and written. He 
seemed qualified for any general business. 

Before the connection on this survey we associated in 
common school, in a special course of geometry, and in an 
office of a cotton factory assorting yarn hank by hank, by 
scales when other duties allowed. He was then a middle- 
aged man, stout built, quick spoken and cheerful. He 
married a cousin (not of his), and during a lifetime of his 
professional wanderings they made a family and estate 
worthy of note. A homestead farm just west of Canastota, 
in Madison county, and on the line of the canal, of his lay- 
ing out, was his resting-place after years of civil engineer- 
ing service in this and other states. 

Canvass White, a kinsman (cousin), was the surveyor 
of Mr. Broadhead's party of the Eastern Division. He 
went to England soon after the termination of the survey of 
i8j6 and returned in season for field operations the next 
year, with instruments for laying out canals, with plans 
and models of a canal boat, and mind stored with observa- 
tions upon the canal work of England. 

He assumed the position as the most practical man in 
canal making, and with Judge Wright cooperative in super- 
intending the making of much of the Erie Canal, and after 
years of professional practice was associated in counsels 
of important works of internal improvement in other states. 

Mr. White discovered a cement of a rock in Madison 
county and its better qualities over quick-lime for the ma- 
sonry of the canal, and introduced its use, a vital principle, 
to the stability, endurance and economy of the work. He 
founded the water power of the Cohoes Falls Company, 
whose lingering growth resulted in no benefit to him. He 
contracted extensively for the delivery of stone at Govern- 
ment works in the Delaware river, procured from the Pali- 
sades of the Hudson, and became pecuniarily embarrassed 
in its operations. He was small in stature, of delicate con- 
stitution, consumptively inclined, and died after years of 
usefulness, having been kind, quiet and considerate in all 
his ways. 


Another name I would here record, though not con- 
nected with the surveys of 1816, but just thereafter, 
stepped from the walks of ordinary life into the works of 
the Erie Canal, became a distinguished civil engineer of 
importance and many works of the states, and is now the 
chief engineer of one of the great lines of said road, be- 
tween the East and the West. John B. Jervis has a name, 
fame and manhood complete. 

James Geddes was a distinguished surveyor and explorer 
for the Erie Canal, and was much more prominent in the 
service of the Surveyor-General of the State, who directed 
all explorations and surveys for the canal previous to 1816. 
He was the engineer of the survey of the Western Di- 
vision in 1816 and 1817, and partially laid out the line be- 
tween Rome and Utica for construction about the same 
time. One personal interview is my only recollection of 
him. He located the Champlain Canal, and had the reputa- 
tion of having made it crooked to avoid the accumulation 
of water and its waves by which the banks would be 
washed. The force of each wave was to be broken against 
a curved bank of the canal. 

Some practical expenses in superintending and laying 
out works of that canal gave the present writer a knowl- 
edge of the facts of its unnecessary curvatures ; whether so 
designed for that purpose is uncertain. He did not take the 
stand of Wright, White, Roberts and Jervis as a practical 

Mr. William Peacock, by direction of Mr. Ellicott, sur- 
veyed a line from the Niagara river easterly north of Mr. 
Geddes' survey, which latter was that of the present canal 
along Tonawanda creek and to Lockport. This book of 
maps, these plottings of surveys made in 1816 and 1817, is 
passed to the keeping of the Buffalo Historical Society. 1 
It has undergone the vicissitudes of common life. The 
auction mart has been its portion and seclusions of the gar- 

1. The book referred to, now in the library of the Buffalo Historical 
Society, is an atlas entitled: "Plottings of Surveys for the Erie Canal in 1816 
and 1817." It contains sixteen beautifully executed original maps of sec- 
tions of the Canal survey. 

CANAL SURVEYS, 1816-17. 347 $i% 

ret a resting - place among the put-away and past-useful 
things of an ordinary lifetime; still treasured as an hcii- 
loom of early memories. Its torn and tattered cover, 
stitched and pasted, cobw ebbed, dusty, mouldy, mildewed, 
motheaten, and yet preserved: seared like the autumn leaf, 
its folds are yellow with age. Still it will outlast the flesh 
and blood of its worldly makers, one of whose spirits has 
been cheered by the companionship now to part forever. 

Vale of the Mohawk, visions of the past, 
Haunt of my dreams enduring to the last. 

Gentlemen — Your enduring patience during this reading 
is acknowledged. 

A double portion, seems my lot, 

To sate the soul and fill the heart, 

And if I've failed in history's page, 

To make a mark, so much the rage, 

The bill of fare as fixed by roll 

Must fill the void, complete in whole, 

With coffee, cold meats, sandwiches brown, 

Bread, biscuit, butter and deer lamb, 1 

Cider, apples, pickles and tongue, 

Enough for all, both old and Young, 

To which, adjourn, sans souci, all, 

To banquet room, just o'er the hall. 

I. The spelling suggests that the author meant venison. 




A few weeks after the writer of the preceding paper 
had read it at a meeting of the Buffalo Historical Society, 
he received the following letter from his cousin, F. C. 
White of Whitesboro, which so well embodies a chapter 
of the secret history of incipient legislation for the Erie 
canal that its inclusion here is warranted. The opening al- 
lusion is to papers published to establish the claims of Jesse 
Hawley. 1 

Wkitesboro, March, 1866. 
Wm. C. Young: 

My dear Cousin — The copy of the Courier and Republic, con- 
taining "a paper on the origin of the Erie canal," has been re- 
ceived, and for which please accept my thanks. Having read it 
with care, it appears liable to some criticism in this, that too much 
care and research are bestowed in trying to discover who has, or 
rather, who was the person, among our statesmen, really entitled 
to having made public, the first idea of connecting the waters of 
Lake Erie with the waters of the Hudson river. Practically, it 
seems to me of mere importance to discover who were the first pro- 
jectors and entitled to the high, and honorable position of project- 
ing the first legislation of the State of New York, and which re- 
sulted in the completion of the Erie canal. 

Jonas Piatt was elected by the Federal party to the Senate of 
the State of New York and was a member of that body when 
Thomas Eddy of the city of New York came to Albany, as agent 
of the "Western Inland Lock Navigation Company," to obtain an 
enactment by the Legislature to enable said company to connect the 

1. A synopsis of the essays of the Hon. Jesse Hawley, regarding the 
origin of the Erie canal, with other papers bearing on his claims for precedence 
as an advocate of such a work, are contained in Vol. II, Euffalo Historical 
Society Publications. 


waters of Lake Ontario with the Cayuga and Seneca lakes, and he 
called on Senator Piatt, for consultation, and often repeated such 
calls, until finally, General Piatt said to him : 

"Mr. Eddy, why not make application at once for a canal to 
connect the waters of Lake Erie with the waters of the Hudson 

To which Mr. Eddy replied: 'It would frighten the members 
of the Legislature to such a degree that nothing would be granted, 
and I should lose even what I am sent here to obtain." 

General Piatt replied that he thought the greater project might 
be carried, if DeWitt Clinton would lend his aid and influence 
with the Democratic party, of which DeWitt Clinton was then one 
of the leaders, and confessedly its leader in the Senate, both agree- 
ing that, if Mr. Clinton should oppose, the measure would be lost, 
and it was agreed that General Piatt should see Mr. Clinton, and 
assure him that there was no political object in the application. It 
may be well to mention that General Piatt was the leader of the 
Federal minority in the Senate, and he proposed to Mr. Clinton 
that he (Mr. Clinton) should introduce the joint resolution, spoken 
of by the author of ihe piece you sent me, as the resolution joint. 
that Thomas Eddy, Jonas Piatt and DeWitt Clinton, were "instru- 
mental in procuring," in the winter of 1810. 

Mr. Clinton declined to introduce the resolution as its mover, 
and it was agreed that General Piatt or some other member of the 
Senate should introduce it, and Mr. Clinton would second it, but 
not make a speech. The resolution was offered, and Mr. Clinton 
rose and seconded it, but said nothing. 

The above is what was related to me by General Piatt in his 
office, I being a student of law in that office at the time, and at my 
solicitation he stated the above, as the secret history of that resolu- 
tion. This I was anxious to obtain from the best source; deeming 
it at that time a measure of more importance than any other that 
had ever been agitated by our State Legislature. I had read the 
reports, and commentaries thereon of individuals who had broached 
the idea of water communication between the Great Lakes and 
Hudson river. Having seen the first practical move in that direction 
by our Legislature was, alone, the occasion of my seeking the con- 
versation with General Piatt, and of his disclosure to me. 

The subject was more or less used by the political parties of 
those times, when it came before the Legislature, and DeWitt 
Clinton afterwards left the Democratic party, was elected Governor 
and became the great advocate of the canals, staking his popularity 
upon that issue, which was made against him, under the lead of 


Erastus Root, a member of the House of Assembly, from Otsego 
county, a man of great talents, and leading the policy of the Demo- 
cratic party in this State. 

I have taken the liberty of giving you an account of the first 
practical legislation of the State, deeming it as of infinitely greater 
importance to know who the actors were, and by what means the 
great internal improvement policy was made successful in this 
State, than it can be to ascertain who originated the idea first, but 
never moved for its practical consummation — a wonder that chal- 
lenges the world for its compact. The glory is our own — the work 
was accomplished, and the whole world benefited. The monument, 
although as yet unfinished, will stand for ever in the work itself. 
Very respectfully, your ob't servant, 

F. C. White. 




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Conspicuous among the names associated with the early 
public works of the country stands that of Canvass White, 
who was born in Whifcestown, Oneida County, New York, 
September 8, 1790. His father, Hugh White, a native of 
Connecticut, was a descendant of Deacon John White, one 
of the first settlers of the city of Hartford. His mother 
was also of Puritan descent, and from this source he de- 
rived those traits of integrity, indefatigable industry, and 
purity of character, of which his public life was so dis- 
tinguished an example. His paternal grandfather served 
during the American Revolution as a quartermaster, and 
in that capacity, with the self-sacrificing devotion of the 
many heroes in that first struggle of the country for na- 
tional life, expended his fortune for the maintenance of 
the army, receiving in its stead Continental paper money 
that became worthless in his possession. 

In 1784. six years prior to the birth of the subject of 
this sketch, Hugh White, with a family consisting of his 
wife, five sons and four daughters, left his comfortable 
home at Middletown, Connecticut, and removed to Oneida 
County, New York, then a wilderness. His mother, of 
delicate constitution, unused to the rough exposure inci- 
dent to pioneer life, died when he was ten years of age. 
From her he seems to have inherited a feebleness of con- 


stitution that caused his early years to be a constant struggle 
between disease and health for the mastery. At an carn- 
age he began to display a talent for invention, and genius 
for improvements that resulted in the construction of several 
domestic and agricultural implements, that were in use for 
many years on the paternal homestead, and in the neigh- 

The most of his minority was spent on his father's farm, 
with such advantages only for acquiring education as the 
very limited common schools of that period afforded; and 
it was not until the winter of 1803 that an opportunity 
occurred for him to pursue those studies essential to suc- 
cess in the profession he had chosen. In February of this 
year he entered the Fairfield academy, and there studied 
mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, mineralogy and survey- 
ing, until he completed the course of that institution, after 
which he continued the study of these subjects under Dr. 
Josiah Noyes of Clinton, New York. 

At the age of seventeen he entered the store of Colonel 
Carpenter as clerk, where he remained until the spring of 
181 1. His health becoming precarious, a sea-voyage was 
advised as a means of restoration. He consequently shipped 
as supercargo on board a merchant vessel bound to Russia, 
and did not return to his home until October, 1812. The 
captain, while in Russia, remained ignorant of the declara- 
tion of war and commencement of hostilities between the 
United States and Great Britain, took in an assorted cargo, 
and sailed for Hull, England. He did not become aware 
of the war until they entered the English port, were made 
prisoners, and their ship and cargo seized. The captain 
and crew, however, were released, permitted to discharge 
their ship, take in another lading and continue their home- 
ward voyage. 

The ship has scarcely cleared the mouth of the Humber 
when there occurred a violent storm, accompanied by a 
high tide, and they were driven so far ashore that when 
the tide receded the ship lay sixty rods from the sea. As 
the vessel lay on its side, an inspection of the bottom dis- 
closed the fact that the planking, over considerable of the 


surface, was completely rotten, and that she was utterly 
unseaworthy. Young White advised that the rotten plank 
be stripped off and replaced by sound ones, and a channel 
opened through the sand that would admit the tide to the 
stranded ship. Work was at once commenced, and a very 
few days saw the ship which was about to be abandoned 
by her captain and crew, replanked, again afloat, and on 
her way to New York, where she arrived in the latter part 
of September. 

His health was materially improved by the voyage, and 
on his return he again entered the employ of his former 
patron and friend, Col. Carpenter, where he remained until 
the spring of 1814, when, having raised a company of 
volunteers, he received a commission as lieutenant in Colonel 
Dodge's regiment, and took part in the assault and capture 
of Fort Erie, opposite Buffalo. While in occupation of the 
fort, w r ith his command, he was severely wounded by a 
shell fired from the enemy's redoubt half a mile distant; 
soon after his recovery an opportunity occurred for re- 
venging himself on the enemy. A reconnoitering party 
from the British camp was discovered, in an adjacent wood, 
and Lieutenant White was sent with his command to cap- 
ture or disperse them. He succeeded in capturing the whole 
party, killing and wounding several before they surrendered. 
He remained with his regiment until the expiration of their 
term of service, when he returned home, and resumed his 
studies, as previously mentioned. 

In the spring of 1816 Judge Benjamin Wright was 
forming a corps for prosecuting the surveys of the Erie 
canal. Mr. White solicited a position, and was engaged 
by Judge Wright as one of his assistants. During this and 
the succeeding season he was employed in taking the levels 
westward from Rome. In this duty he acquitted himself 
so well that he very soon won the esteem of the chief engi- 
neer, between whom and himself ever afterward there ex- 
isted a firm and unbroken friendship. About this time he 
made the acquaintance of Governor De Witt Clinton, who 
was highly pleased with his personal qualities and profes- 
sional abilities. 


At this early day the knowledge of canal construction 
among the engineers of the cowl try was very limited, and 
Mr. White, at the earnest solicitation of Governor Clinton, 
determined to visit England for the purpose of examining 
the public works of that country, and procuring the most 
improved instruments in use. 

In the autumn of 1817 Mr. White carried out his de- 
termination, and made a careful examination of the canals 
in the United Kingdom, traveling for this purpose more 
than 2000 miles on foot. He returned in the following 
spring, bringing surveying instruments and accurate draw- 
ings of the most important structures on those works, and 
much valuable information for the benefit of the State in 
the construction of its canals. About the time of his return 
there was much discussion on the subject of lock construc- 
tion, some favoring wood, and others stone, or a combination 
of the two. It was, however, fumlly decided to build stone 
locks, using quick-lime mortar far the masonry, and point- 
ing the joints with hydraulic cement, then imported at a 
great cost from England. Soon after, Mr. White dis- 
covered a valuable lime rock near the route of the canal in 
Madison County, which, after repeated experiences, he con- 
verted into a cement, equal to the imported, and at much 
less cost to the State. For this discovery he obtained a 
patent, but permitted its use under the promise of the Canal 
Commissioners that a just compensation should be allowed, 
not only for it, but for his expenses and services while 
abroad. The Commissioners, however, failed to obtain the 
necessary authority from the Legislature to fulfil their prom- 
ise, notwithstanding the reebmmendations of the Governor 
and other officers of the State, as evidenced in the follow- 
ing extracts from official documents: 

Governor De Witt Clinton, in a letter to a committee of 
the Legislature in 1824, states, that ''Mr. White has been 
of great use in his operations as an engineer; and that his 
skill, industry, and integrity in that department furnish 
strong recommendations to the favorable notice of the 
State." Judge Wright stated before the same ecommittee. 
that "hydraulic lime had been generally used along the 


canal since 1818, and part of 1819, in which year, after 
much persuasion by the engineers, it was used in all face 
work of locks and arches, the backing being laid in common 
lime. When common lime was used it gave evidence of 
soon failing. I have no hesitation in saving that the dis- 
covery of hydraulic cement by Mr. White has been of in- 
calculable benefit to the State, and that it is a discovery 
which ought, in justice, to be handsomely remunerated." 
Mr. Flagg reported from the same committee that Mr. 
White, a principal engineer, had made this discovery after 
repeated experiments, and received a patent in 1820; and 
''that Mr. White introduced it at great expense amidst the 
doubts and fears which operate against its use." 

The Canal Commissioners, in their report of February, 
1820, state that they "have employed exploring parties in 
both the western and eastern sections. Between the Seneca 
and Genesee rivers Canvass White, engineer, has had the 
charge of a party, which has been engaged for several 
months in levelling over and surveying different routes for 
the canal line. These labors he has performed much to 
our satisfaction, and having presented a view of them to a 
meeting of our board held in October, at Utica, we there- 
upon decided in favor of the route originally explored be- 
tween these rivers in the year 1816." 

The canal, through and eight miles east of Utica, was 
completed in the fall of 1820, Canvass White being the 
resident engineer. In 1821 Messrs. Wright (principal) 
and White (acting), engineers, explored the country thor- 
oughly from Little Falls to the Hudson, and pronounced 
impracticable the route from Schenectady connecting with 
the Hudson at Albany, and located the line via Cohoes and 
Troy. This location was finally fixed upon by Messrs. 
Wright, Geddes and White. 

Early in the spring of 1822 Canvass White was sent to 
lay out Glens Falls feeder, and in that year he planned and 
directed the building of the lock and dam between Troy 
and Waterford, until the eighth of June, when William 
Jerome took charge. 


Judge Wright, in a letter to Dr. Hosack, of December, 

1828, s?ys: 

"It is proper that I should render a just tribute of merit to a 
gentleman who now stands high in his profession, and whose skill 
and sound judgment, as a civil engineer, is not surpassed, if 
equalled, by any other in the United States. The gentleman to 
whom I refer is Canvass White, Esq., who commenced as my pupil 
in 1816, by carrying the target; he took an active part through 
that year, and through 181 7. In the fall of the latter year he made 
a voyage to England on his own account, and purchased for the 
State several levelling instruments, of which we stood much in 
need. He returned in the spring and brought with him much 
valuable information, which he has usefully developed, greatly to 
the benefit of the State of New York. To this gentleman I could 
always apply for counsel and advice in any great or difficult case, 
and to his sound judgment in locating the line of the canal, in 
much of the difficult part of the route, the people of this State are 
under obligations greater than is generally known or appreciated." 

Simon Guilford, civil engineer, in a letter to Chas. B. 
Stuart, dated Lebanon, Pennsylvania, December, 1869, 
writes : 

"In reply to your letter relating to the late Canvass White, C. E., 
I presume you will obtain, through others, a more extended and 
connected history, than I am able to give you. I will, however, 
relate an instance of his prompt decision and energy, which oc- 
curred upon the Erie canal at a time when I was serving him as 
assistant. When that portion of the canal, along the Mohawk 
river, between Little Falls and Canajoharie, was completed, and the 
supply of water was turned in, owing to a very porous soil over 
which a considerable portion of the canal was made, the supply 
proved inadequate, which was fully realized as the first boat passed, 
containing the Canal Commissioners, the principal engineer, Ben- 
jamin Wright, and others. The question arose as to how the dif- 
ficulty was to be overcome. Mr. White replied, 'A feeder must 
be obtained from the river at this place' (a few miles above Fort 
Plain), and on being asked how long it would take to build a dam 
across the river, 900 feet long, so as to raise the water nine feet 
above the ordinary surface, he replied, 'a few weeks.' 

"The dam was completed in sixty days, inclusive of a side-cut 
and bridge connected with it. Trees were cut and taken whole, the 
trunk with the tops, from timber land near, and placed, with the 


butts down the stream in parallel rows; the limbs were cut partly 
through so that they were made to conform closely in line with 
the trunks, and the cavities filled with rocks and coarse gravel. 
The trees thus forming the main portion of the dam were weighed 
down and compacted by a heavy covering of stone material. With 
the trunks of the lower tiers of the trees left to protrude out 
several feet from under the lower slope of the dam, an apron or 
platform was formed, which served as a protection from an under 
washing of the gravel foundation. 

"Mr. White's professional success, scrupulous integrity, and 
modest demeanor, in all transactions of life, won for him the en- 
during esteem of all with whom he was associated. For these ad- 
mirable qualities of mind and heart, he became widely known, and, 
as a consequence, frequent and urgent offers were tendered him 
for engineering services in other states. He, however, continued 
in the active discharge of his duties as engineer on the Erie canal, 
until it was so nearly completed, that his place could be supplied 
from his assistant engineers, when he succeeded Loammi Baldwin 
as chief engineer on the Union canal of Pennsylvania. He con- 
tinued in that position until the latter part of the summer of 1826, 
when, in consequence of a severe illness, contracted while con- 
ducting the surveys of the canal west of the Susquehanna river, he 
returned to Philadelphia, and resigned his connection with the 

, The distinguished civil engineer, W. Milnor Roberts, in 
a letter, dated St. Louis, December, 1869, writes : 

"I recollect the first interview with Canvass White, which took 
place in the office of the Union Canal Company, in Philadelphia. 
Samuel Mifflin was the president, and my father, Thomas P. Roberts, 
was, for many years, the treasurer of the company. In 1823-24, Mr. 
Mifflin had a controversy with Loammi Baldwin, who was at the 
time the chief engineer of the company, which resulted in the resig- 
nation of Mr. Baldwin, and the appointment of Canvass White to 
fill the vacancy. During the controversy, a long and important 
paper written by Mr. Mifflin, was intrusted to me to be copied. 
Curiosity led me to interest myself in the matter under discussion, 
and in studying the paper I detected what seemed to me to be an 
erroneous statement, to which, through my father, I called Mifflin's 
attention, who expressed himself under great obligations, as it 
proved to be important. He urged my father to make an engineer 
of me; and he spoke to Mr. White after he had taken charge of 
the canal; and some time afterward, when Mr. White visited the 


office in Philadelphia, 1 was sent for to meet him. His first remark 
was: 'He is very small, do you thin!: he could stand rough and 
tumble engineering?' The interview ended with instructions to me 
to go up the Schuylkill navigation on board of a canal boat, and 
on arriving at Reading, to inquire for Mr. Olmstead, at the engi- 
neer's office. This I did, and in a few days I met Mr. White in 
Reading, who took me with him in the company's two-horse 
wagon on a tour along the line, visiting the works then in the 
course of construction. This was in the spring of 1825. Mr. 
Olmstead, who had charge of the eastern division, accompanied 
Mr. White to the end of his division, where he met Mr. Guilford, 
who was in charge of the middle division. Soon after Mr. Guilford 
met us, we came to one of his locks, nearly finished, concerning 
which, after taking a good look at it, I made my first engineering 
remark, as follows: 

"'Why! Mr. White, don't you think that this lock is too 

"He smiled, saying blandly: 'I guess it's large enough.' 

"Mr. Guilford said nothing at the time, but afterwards, when 
we had arrived at his headquarters in Lebanon, he said to me : 

" 'Don't you know that Mr. White advocated the small locks 
for this canal, coinciding with Mr. Mifflin in opposition to Mr. 
Baldwin? You must be careful about what you say about small 

"I was young and inexperienced, and my remark became a by- 
word with the young engineers amongst ourselves. I had then 
seen only two canals — the James river canal in Virginia, and the 
Schuylkill navigation; the locks of which were 17 feet wide and 
about 90 feet long; whereas the Union canal locks were only S l /> 
feet wide, and 75 feet long; the design being that two boats from 
the Union canal should pass at one time through the locks of the 
Schuylkill navigation. I may remark that I have now no doubt 
that the adoption of so small a canal and locks for the Union canal 
was an error. There had been precedents for such small canals in 
England; but I think that the reasoning which determined the size 
in the case of the Union canal, on account of the small supply of 
water, was inadequate, if not fallacious. Many years after its first 
construction, it was enlarged under the engineering superintendence 
of my friend, Colonel James Worrall. 

"My official or professional connection with Mr. White ended 
in 1831. . . . 

"Canvass White, in his day, stood at the head of American 
canal engineers, and his strength lay in his cool, practical judgment. 


He had no experience in railroad engineering, so far as I ever 
knew. He was a gentleman of very quiet manners, equal temper, 
and kind disposition. 1 never knew him ruffled, or impatient. His 
wife was a lady of great beauty, and they had a son, a fine boy 
when I knew him, whom I afterwards lost sight of, who became 
an engineer." 

During the time Mr. White was engaged as chief engi- 
neer of the Union canal, he was called to New York for 
the purpose of examining the sources of supply for pure 
and wholesome water for the city. He reported to the 
mayor and aldermen, that, for the present need of the 
city, and its probable requirements for twenty years there- 
after, a sufficient supply could be obtained from the Rye 
pond and the Bronx river, in Westchester county, "but 
after the city should extend to one-third the surface of 
Manhattan Island, it would be necessary to add the Croton 
river to their other resources." The report was accom- 
panied with full details, and strongly impressed the city 
government with the importance and feasibility of the pro- 

The comprehensive nature of his mind, through which, 
at a glance, he grasped the salient points of a subject, and 
his systematic habit in arranging details, enabled him to 
accomplish an extraordinary amount of professional work. 
While engaged upon the two last mentioned enterprises, he 
was solicited to take charge of the works of the Schuylkill 
Navigation Company (the engineer having suddenly died), 
which was then in the course of construction. After mak- 
ing a rapid survey of the ground, and the plans of the 
company, he suggested alterations, and recommended the 
employment of Captain Beach as their chief ; he continuing 
as consulting engineer, until the work was completed. At 
this time he was also consulting engineer for the Dela- 
ware & Chesapeake canal, Judge Benjamin Wright being 
the chief engineer. 

The success and reported profits of the Erie canal gave 
an impetus to a canal construction in that day, that would 
have resulted in a system of artificial internal navigation 
as universal as our railroad system, could the capital neces- 


sary for the purpose have been obtained. Projects were 
started in various parts of the Union, and a pressing de- 
mand was made upon the time of the few engineers then in 
the country. 

The citizens of Hartford conceived the project of im- 
proving the navigation of the Connecticut river, and the 
Windsor locks were built by Mr. White as chief engineer. 
Careful financial men were led away by the prevailing spirit 
of the time, and large amounts were expended upon im- 
practicable enterprises. Amongst these was the Farmington 
canal, constructed from New Haven to Farmington, and 
thence up the Farmington river, "as money could be found 
to prosecute the work." Mr. White was applied to for 
plans and surveys, and for an opinion of the value of it 
when completed ; the former of which he furnished, and 
remained consulting engineer during the construction of 
the work. However, he frequently expressed to Mr. Hill- 
house, one of the chief promoters of the enterprise, an 
opinion adverse to the success of the canal as a financial 
investment. The capacity of the canal proved to be far 
greater than the requirements for its construction. 

In 1825 the traffic in coal from Mauch Chunk to Phila- 
delphia had increased to such an extent that the Lehigh 
Coal & Navigation Company (who were bringing down the 
products of its mines in arks), finding its means insuffi- 
cient to supply the increasing demand for coal, concluded 
to improve the navigation of the Lehigh river, and to ask 
the State of Pennsylvania to construct a canal along the 
margin of the Delaware river from Easton to navigable 
waters below. Josiah White, a member of the Society of 
Friends, and an energetic man, whose practical common 
sense and sound judgment enabled him to comprehend men 
and measures with much precision, was superintendent of 
the affairs of the company, and constructed at Mauch 
Chunk a wide basin for boats, and one mile of canal, in 
which were five locks. The work remained in this condi- 
tion until the spring of 1827, when Canvass White, having 
regained his health, was appointed chief engineer, and the 
work was resumed and prosecuted with such diligence that 


the first boat passed through the canal in July, 1829. At 
that time the Lehigh canal was the most capacious work of 
the kind yet undertaken in the country, and was considered 
a bold project. 

The engineers under Mr. White were W. Milnor Roberts 
in charge of the western, A. B. Watford the middle, and 
John Hopkins the eastern division. 

During the summer of 1825, Mr. White was appointed 
chief engineer of the Delaware & Raritan canal. He or- 
ganized a party for preliminary surveys, and placed it un- 
der the immediate charge of John Hopkins, one of his most 
trusted assistants. This work was discontinued late in the 
fall, after the location of about twelve miles, and was not 
resumed again until the spring of 183 1. 

The construction of the canal from the Delaware to the 
Raritan river was attended by many difficulties, and met 
many obstructions, all of which were successfully overcome. 
In the prosecution of this important work, Mr. White al- 
ways acknowledged with becoming gratitude the generous 
and wise counsel of Commodore Robert F. Stockton, who 
took an active interest in the success of the enterprise. 

In the autumn of 1834, when this work was nearly com- 
pleted, his health was so much impaired that his physician 
advised him to seek a more genial climate, with a probable 
hope of seeing him restored to health and usefulness. He 
sailed soon after for St. Augustine, Florida, where he died 
within a month after his arrival at that place. Flis remains 
were returned to New Jersey, and lie buried in the church- 
yard at Princeton, where his family resided at the time of 
his death. 

Mr. White was personally popular with all who were 
favored with his acquaintance. General Bernard, a French 
engineer in the service of the United States, remarked of 
him, that "as a civil engineer he had no superior; his 
genius and ingenuity were of a surprising magnitude ; his 
mild and gentle ways, his sweet and amiable temper, mod- 
est and retiring manners won his heart; he loved him very 
much, exceedingly." Henry Clay remarked, when speak- 
ing of him to a gentleman who was seeking an engineer 


for the construction of the Chesapeake & Ohio canal : "Get 
Canvass White: no man is more competent, no man more 
capable ; and while your faith in his ability and fidelity in- 
creases, your friendship will grow into affection." 

In a letter dated July, i860, the late Hon. Hugh White 
of Cohoes, New York, says : 

"My brother, Canvass White, was in stature five feet nine and 
one-half inches; lightly made, weighing from 145 to 165 pounds; 
light complexion, light brown hair, blue eyes, wonderfully clear 
and bright; inclining slightly forward from a perpendicular when 
walking or standing; grave and thoughtful expression, yet full of 
affection and kindness, a broad intellectual forehead and well- 
shaped nose, and with a trifle more of flesh would have been an 
unusually fine-looking man. The most prominent and striking 
feature in the general contour of the person, was an unmistakable 
impress of genius, modesty and amiability. In conversation, you 
could not escape the conviction that what he said he was sure of, 
and left the impression indelibly upon those he desired to convince 
of the truth or feasibility of any plan or project he had in con- 


An illustration herewith shows the bronze tablet, designed by 
Louis Tiffany & Company of New York, and placed in the Oneida 
Historical Society building at Utica. The right-hand tablet shows a 
bas-relief of Canvass White, civil engineer, born September 8, 1790, 
died December 18, 1834. The original log hut of his grand- 
father, Hugh White, is reproduced below the base of the center 
column in the tablet. This log house was erected at Whitestown 
in 1:784. The panel between the middle and right-hand column 
above Canvass White's medallion carries the exact reproduction 
of the model of the first Erie canal boat, which is in the care of 
the Buffalo Historical Society. Back of the canal boat on the canal 
is an exact reproduction of Hugh White's frame house erected 
at Whitestown, which house is still in existence, somewhat 
changed today in the exterior finish from the above cut. The 
right-hand corner above Canvass White's medallion has an exact 
reproduction of the seal of the village of Whitestown, representing 
Hugh White, the pioneer settler wrestling with an Indian, which 
wrestling match occurred shortly after his settlement at Whites- 




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town. In order to maintain the supremacy of the whites among' the 
Indians, it was necessary for him to accept the challenge of the 
Indian holding the championship among the Indian wrestlers. Mr. 
White grappled the Indian, tipped him, fell upon him, and as he 
weighed some 250 pounds, the blow took all the breath out of the 
Indian, and when he arose after the fall, he expressed the opinion 
that Hugh White was too heavy. The village authorities took 
advantage of the scene and adopted it as the emblem for the seal of 
the village, and it continues to be so used at the present day. 

In the left-hand corner of the tablet, above the medallion, is 
an exact reproduction of the seal of the city of Utica, representing 
an Indian, and the words "Ya-nun-da-sis," meaning around the hill, 
as the city of Utica is located at the point where the Catskill hills 
from the south gradually melt into the valley of the Mohawk, and 
those of the Adirondacks rise on the other side, which places Utica 
"around the hills," as the Indians termed it. 

The right-hand column contains an Egyptian emblematic figure 
with water lilies, indicative of the fact that Canvass White's work 
in life had to do with the control and management of water. The 
scroll giving the date of his birth and death is supported by a sur- 
veyor's chain, with its links. The middle column has an exact 
reproduction of the tripod and level used by Benjamin Wright in 
the survey of the Erie canal, the level having been purchased at 
20 Holborn Viaduct, London, England, by Canvass White, while 
on his trip of inspection in the interest of the canal work. Above 
this is a cluster of shovels, pick-axes, squares and triangles neces- 
sary to the excavation of the work. 

The left-hand tablet contains a bas-relief of William Clark 
Young, a first cousin of Canvass W^hite, and also a grandson of 
Hugh White, the pioneer settler of Whitestown. The panel be- 
tween the capitals of the left-hand and the central column con- 
tains an exact reproduction of the first railroad train as used in 
1831 at the opening of the railroad between Albany and Schenec- 
tady. The right-hand corner of the tablet has an exact reproduc- 
tion of the seal of the State of New York, and the left-hand tablet 
an exact reproduction of the seal of the Oneida Historical Society 
at Utica. The left-hand column is ornamented with ties and rails 
of a railroad, using the wheels on the original train as shown above 
as rosettes. Mr. Young was the inventor of the modern wooden 
railroad ties which made railroading practical. The scroll con- 
taining the dates of his birth and death is supported on the links 
of a surveyor's chain. Mr. Young was a graduate of West Point, 
and lived long enough to become the oldest living graduate. 


These two men, grandsons of the original New England settler 
who settled in Whitcstown in June, 1784, were first cousliis to 
each other. One was engaged in the solution of the problem of 
cheap transportation by water, and the other in the solution of the 
problem of cheap transportation by steam. 






Among those who have been prominent in Buffalo in 
years gone by in working- for an enlarged canal and better 
transportation facilities thereon, the name and labors of 
Elmore H. Walker should not be overlooked. 

For many years associated, at different times, with the 
leading dailies of the city as commercial editor, and for a 
long period up to 1869 solely with the Buffalo Commercial 
Advertiser in the same position, Mr. Walker, by his broad 
views, accurate judgment and an intimate acquaintance with 
figures, won for himself an enviable place not only in this 
community, but elsewhere, and was widely known as ''the 
Great Tabulator." Commerce to him was an inspiration, 
and he proved himself a successful interpreter of its laws ; 
so much so, that in his special department he was almost 
without an equal. 

For twenty years prior to the date mentioned above, he 
was identified with the commerce of this important shipping 
point, and used his influence and his pen on very many oc- 
casions during that long period in behalf of the Erie canal. 

In June, 1869, Mr. Walker wrote a long editorial for the 
Commercial Advertiser upon that portion of Governor Hoff- 
man's message relating to the canal. Let me quote from the 
message first : 

"The Erie canal by its geographical position and physical char- 
acteristics, has a special and important relation to the commerce 



and business not only of our own State, but of the populous and 
rapidly growing communities of the great Northwest. 

"Connecting the Hudson with the lakes, it is an indispensable 
link in a chain of water communication which continues to be of 
great power and value notwithstanding the improvements in the 
methods of land transportation which are characteristic of our 
times. t 

"This work is a trust for the people of the State, whose enter- 
prise and capital have created it; but it is to be administered in 
a spirit of liberality towards those great populations whose growth 
has been fostered by it, and whose welfare it continues to afTec:. 
To maintain it in a condition of efficiency, and to improve it in 
a practical manner, as the necessities of business may from time 
to time demand, is our interest as proprietors, and our policy with 
reference to the commerce of the State and country. 

"To protect it from embarrassment, arising out of improvident 
expenditures, ill-considered changes in its structure, or charges upon 
its revenues, growing out of other undertakings, is an obligation 
clearly resting upon us. The general plan of its construction and 
its adaptation to the business for which it was intended, provide a 
convenient, easy, and an economical means of transportation. The 
complaints that have arisen, some of which have been made the 
occasion of demands for fundamental changes in the work, have 
been provoked mainly by failures in the administration." 

Mr. Walker alluded to the first part of the quotation as - 
taking "a broad, comprehensive and statesmanlike view of 
the Erie canal in its geographical and commercial relations 
to this State and its metropolis, as well as the great north- 
west" ; but when he says of the Erie canal, "to protect it 
from ill-considered changes in its structure, or charges upon 
its revenue growing out of other undertakings, is an obli- 
gation clearly resting upon us" ; also referring to the other 
and concluding portion of the last paragraph, Mr. Walker 
said that he thought the Governor " fails fully to compre- 
hend the situation." Also, that the foregoing quotations 
from his message "show very clearly that he thinks no en- 
largement of the Erie canal is necessary. That it has now 
in its structure ample capacity and sufficient cheapness to 
secure and accommodate the wants of trade between the 
seaboard and the northwestern states for an indefinite 


period. . . . Wise statesmanship looks to the future and 
its wants, as well as to the past and the present." 

Mr. Walker then goes on to speak oi the immense area 
of the northwestern states, ''more than 600,000 square 
miles"; of their "population of twelve millions, which is 
being augmented in a decennial ratio of sixty-five per 
cent." ; of their cereal product ; of their railways completed 
and in operation ; of their "2000 miles of canal, including 
700 miles of slack water navigation, besides a lake and 
river tonnage, nearly equal to that of the entire ocean com- 
merce of the United States.'' He takes up the surplus 
cereals moved eastward, the coal tonnage, as well as the 
aggregate annual tonnage of the canal, rival routes reach- 
ing out to secure the trade of the northwestern states ; of 
the system of barge transportation on the Mississippi with 
capacious grain elevators at St. Paul, Dubuque, St. Louis, 
and New Orleans, for handling* grain in bulk, claiming 
that it '"bids fair to rival in cheapness the lake and canal 
route with the present capacity of the Erie canal. " He also 
spoke of the efforts of the Canadian Government to secure 
a large share of this vast trade, and substantially closes his 
article by eloquently saying : 

"What interest in the State is of greater magnitude than the 
Erie canal, and its present and future commerce? What interest 
in the State stands in greater need of protection and fostering 
care? It needs not only present care, but a care for the future, to 
the end that the augmenting commerce and trade between the East 
and the great Northwest shall be secured and retained to the Erie 
canal. The foreign commerce of New York is in a great measure 
dependent upon securing the trade of the lake and Mississippi val- 
ley states through the Erie canal. The comparative statistics of the 
grain trade of Chicago and New York, the augmenting coal and 
lumber trade, the rapidly-increasing agricultural productions of the 
West, and the strong competition of rival routes, ought to be a 
sufficient warning and admonition, to the State of New York, of 
the imperative necessity of immediately providing for the increased 
traffic by means of enlarged locks for the passage of 600-ton boats, 
and cheaper transportation facilities. By this means only can we 
invite and secure the trade of the Northwestern states to the Erie 
canal, and turn through it the rich tide of commerce which, like 
the blood Mowing through the great artery from the heart of the 


living being to the extremities of the body, insures growth and 
communicates activity, strength and power to the whole system." 

Another editorial appeared in the same paper a few 
months earlier than the foregoing on ''Barge Transportation 
on the Mississippi," in which Mr. Walker admonished the 
Buffalo Board of Trade, and the citizens of Buffalo gen- 
erally of the importance of more capacity in the Erie canal ; 
diminished cost of canal transportation, etc., to keep even 
the trade we have. 

In July, 1869, Elmore H. Walker was elected statistician 
of the New York Produce Exchange, a position which he 
filled for many years with marked success and great dis- 
tinction. On the eve of his departure from this city, the 
Board of Trade held a meeting at the rooms on Central 
Wharf, S. S. Guthrie in the chair. After remarks by the 
chairman and others, George S. Hazard said, that in his 
opinion Mr. Walker was "the best statistician in this coun- 
try," and that he hoped that his presence among the mer- 
chants of New York, and advice, "would enlighten their 
minds in regard to the needed improvements in the en- 
largement of the canal, as well as the completion of the 
great highway of commerce from the lakes to the ocean." 
closing by offering some very complimentary resolutions 
which were adopted unanimously with much enthusiasm. 
Another meeting of the same body was held in the after- 
noon of that day when Mr. Walker was presented with a 
gold watch and chain, and a substantial roll of greenbacks 
as a token of esteem from the members generally. 

Mr. Walker's articles after he took up his residence in 
New York, often appeared in the New York Times, The 
Golden Age, Albany Argus, Buffalo Commercial Adver- 
tiser, and other prominent papers, urging the enlargement 
of the Erie canal, and were a strong factor in forming and 
educating public opinion. The space at my command for- 
bids further extracts from the press, but I desire to call at- 
tention to the voluminous and able reports published an- 
nually by the New York Produce Exchange, and to make 
some extracts therefrom. In the annual report for 1879, 
he says: 


"The water route via the Erie canal should be so improved, and 
that speedily, as to hold the great bulk of the trade between the 
East and the West, through this State. If it shall be so made by 
judicious and practical improvements, the railways of this State 
cannot but be great gainers in business if the cost of transportation 
on the Erie canal shall be so diminished by such improvements as 
to prevent diversion of trade through other channels and other 
cities. ... It would seem to be an extremely unwise and un- 
statesmanlike policy to further delay such improvement of the Erie 
canal as will enable it to keep the trade it already has and to in- 
crease it, until the enlargement of the Canadian canals shall have 
been completed, and shall largely divert the trade through the St. 
Lawrence route before the State of New York shall have made 
any effort to improve this great waterway through this State. The 
policy of such delay would seem to be suicidal for the commercial 
interests of the city and State of New York." 

In the annual report of the New York Produce Ex- 
change, issued in 1881, Mr. Walker writes thus of the dan- 
ger to our commerce : 

"As long as the water route consisting of the Great Lakes, the 
Erie and Oswego canals and the Hudson river can furnish a 
cheaper method of transportation than any other, we are safe. 
But the past is no guarantee for the future. Philadelphia, Balti- 
more, Boston and Montreal are doing all in their power to take the 
commerce from New York. The railroads are expending large 
sums each year in costly experiments to cheapen transportation. 
Massachusetts has built the Hoosac tunnel, and Canada has com- 
menced and will in a few years complete the finest system of inland 
navigation in the world. While there is so much reason for con- 
gratulation about the improved commerce of our State, it is threat- 
ened from a new quarter. Our canals and railroads arc alike en- 
dangered in the near future by the water-route through the valley 
of the St. Lawrence. . . . While we have undervalued and neg- 
lected our water channels, the British Government has steadily 
pursued a policy which will give it a waterway into the heart of 
our country, and which will make seaports of our great lake 
cities, with which it can hold direct commerce by a route under its 
sole control, through the St. Lawrence river. Few commercial 
events of this century equal the importance of the completion of 
this design. . . . We now find ourselves carried back to the ques- 
tion which agitated our State more than sixty years ago, and 
which led to the construction of the Erie canal. 


"The British are so confident that they will wrest the trade of 
the West, from us, thai they have nearly completer] works that will 
cost more than thirty millions of dollars. This is in addition to 
about twenty millions spent in early improvements, making about 
fifty millions paid out to gain the great prize they seek, the control 
of the carrying trade from the heart of our country to the markets 
of the world. They do not fear our railroads. While we are 
neglecting our water-routes they spare no cost to perfect theirs. 
This is the greatest danger that threatens our commerce. It con- 
cerns all classes of citizens, and all methods of transportation." 

Mr. Walker then shows in view of this great danger, 
that the way to save the commerce New York has so long 
held, is to improve our waterway, and that the "tide-waters 
of the Hudson river, and the natural channels between the 
Great Lakes shall have the consideration which is due to 
them, as the great channels of commerce of our country." 

These extracts have been taken from Mr. Walker's writ- 
ings in order to show how deeply he was concerned for 
many long years in the vital necessity which was so ap- 
parent — not only to him but to other far-sig-hted men— in 
preserving and enlarging the Erie canal if the commerce of 
the State was to be retained. It means prosperity to all 
classes of our citizens. For, as Mr. Walker says in another 
place, "not only the buyer and seller, but all those doing 
business within the borders of the State are benefited by 
the success of our canals, those residing in the country as 
well as in the city. With the price of his grain the western 
farmer buys goods manufactured in the East. The market 
of New York City gives value to property throughout this 
State that without it would be of comparatively little worth.'' 

After being with the Produce Exchange for fifteen years, 


Mr. Walker resigned to become attached to Bradstreet's. th 

l 6 

well known commercial and financial newspaper published 
at New York City. After this term of service expired Mr. 
Walker retired from active life, and died in 189 1. 

This brief sketch of his labors in behalf of the com- 
merce of this State, and of the Erie canal in particular, is 
due to one who in his day was a well-known Buffalonian, 
and labored long and earnestly for the project that is now 
in process of fulfilment. 


President, Buffalo Board of Trade, 1855, 1857. 1862, 1863. 1864 
President, Buffalo Historical Society. 1890, 1892. 



Since that memorable date when the great internal im- 
provement of our State, the Erie canal, was completed and 
opened for business, very many Buffalonians, at different 
periods, have been deeply interested in the great water- 
way by which the Queen City of the Lakes has direct com- 
munication and large transportation facilities with the finan- 
cial and commercial center of our country, New York. 

Perhaps there are none among the number whose mem- 
ory our citizens delight to honor more than that of our late 
co-worker and associate, George Starr Hazard, whose in- 
terest in everything pertaining to the city of his adoption 
was continuous and unwearying. 

During the long period in which Mr. Hazard was ac- 
tively engaged in the grain commission business on what 
was known in his time as Central Wharf, he realized, as 
few did, that in order to retain the immense western trade 
mainly within this State, the improvement and enlargement 
of the Erie canal was of vital necessity, especially in view 
of the efforts rival routes were making to divert a large 
portion of this trade, which, if successful, would be detri- 
mental to our commercial interests generally, and to Buffalo 
in particular. 

Mr. Hazard had steadily and constantly in view the 
growth and prosperity of the city of Buffalo, and that this 
city possessed commercial advantages of a high order de- 
rived from its favorable relative position with so many 
points, and the ready means of distribution by lake, canal, 
and railroad. Buffalo is the great depot of supplies, with- 
out limit, both in breadstuffs, provisions, coal, iron ore, and 


almost everything else necessary to the wants of man, while 
considering the cereal movement alone, the traffic to and 
from and through Buffalo is of colossal magnitude. 

Probably no commission merchant on Central Wharf had 
clearer or sounder views on this all-important subject than 
Mr. Hazard, who, in 1857-8, and again from 1862 to 1865, 
was president of the Buffalo Board of Trade. Afterwards 
as president of one of our leading banks he kept in close 
touch with the commercial and transportation interests of 
the city. 

In 1843 his friend, Mr. Joseph Dart, erected the first 
elevator ever built for storing and transferring grain. He 
lived to see the day when Buffalo river was lined with large 
elevators, and the port crowded with vessels. The first 
grain brought from the West was a small cargo of wheat 
from Maumee in the year 1828, three years after the open- 
ing of the Erie canal. At that time, beyond the borders 
of our commonwealth, lay the great West, as yet undevel- 
oped and but sparsely settled. 'Tts vast prairies were yearly 
wasting their productiveness ; its mines, with their untold 
wealth, were locked up for want of the talismanic key of 
enterprise to open them ; and its commerce was of so little 
moment as to scarcely deserve notice." 

Prior to 1850 the Erie canal had no important competitor 
in the carrying trade between the Great Lakes and tide- 
water, but at that date the New York Central railway was 
in full operation, and in 1857 there were four great railway 
lines competing for business. 

Mr. Hazard, as well as some other able men connected 
with the Board of Trade, foresaw that the immense pres- 
sure on the railroads would be from this later period with- 
out cessation, nay, would mightily increase with the rapid 
development of the West, to the detriment of the Erie canal 
unless improvements were made to keep pace with the 
times. He realized, too, that a revolution was going on in 
the transportation of property between the East and the 
West, and that in the future a large amount of the almost 
fabulous trade of the West would be diverted to rival routes 
and other maritime markets. 


Mr. Hazard always felt that one of the most important 
matters bearing - upon the commercial interests of Buffalo, 
was the canals of the State, and that no economical ques- 
tion concerned the citizens of Buffalo and of the State more 
deeply than the care and improvement of our natural and 
artificial waterways. 

In 1894, when the canal amendment was up for consid- 
eration, Mr. Hazard — although long before having retired 
from active business, and being far advanced in years — 
used to call upon a prominent member of the Constitutional 
Convention from this city, and discuss the current phases 
of the subject with all the vigor and vivacity and clearness 
of intellect of a man in the prime of life. So, too, in the 
years from 1897 to 1901, Mr. Hazard was bound up in the 
building of the barge canal which could only be done by 
the united action of the legislative bodies of the State, 
which, as has been told, was successfully accomplished. 

To such men, therefore, as our late associate, George S. 
Hazard, too much praise cannot be accorded as one fore- 
most in his day and generation in advancing the commerce 
of this port; a man firm in purpose, honest in his convic- 
tions, distinguished for his kindness, and a gentleman whose 
courteous bearing was but the index of a steadfast, kindly 

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I- X 





The recent death of George Coit, Esq., on the 9th May 
ulto. 2 concludes the lives of those prominently engaged in 
the early forwarding business of Buffalo Creek. Antecedent 
to the War of 1812, and down to the year 1825, the noted 
firm of Porter, Barton & Co., by a lease from the State of 
New York, of the portage around Niagara Falls by a seven 
miles wagon route, and boats on the river above, monopo- 
lized the carrying trade between Lewiston and Black Rock, 
thus forming the connecting link between Lakes Ontario 
and Erie. This firm was composed of Augustus Porter of 
Niagara Falls, Benjamin Barton of Lewiston, and Peter B. 
Porter of Black Rock. The late Sheldon Thompson — then 
settled, in the year 1815, at Black Rock; his brother, Harry 
Thompson, settled there in 1818; James L. Barton (son of 
Benjamin Barton), who came there from Lewiston in 18 16, 
and John L. Kimberly, about the same time, made up the 
firm of S. Thompson & Co. at that place. They owned ves- 
sels, and established a warehouse for forwarding goods on 
the river and Lake Erie, and also received, and sent goods 
by wagons between Black Rock and Albany. 

Charles Townsend and George Coit, under the firm of 
Townsend & Coit, on Buffalo Creek, were participants, to 

1. Read before the Buffalo Historical Society, June 13. iS6s. Now first pub- 

3. Mr. Coit died May 9, 186s. 



some extent — although not directly interested in the firm 
of Porter, Barton & Co.— -in their carrying" trade. They 
also received and forwarded goods by wagons between Al- 
bany and Buffalo, and thence on Lake Erie by their vessels. 
Samuel Wilkeson. and Jonathan Sidway, to some extent, 
were engaged in forwarding goods on the lake, Sidway 
being chiefly engaged in the salt trade, then a considerable 
business between Salt Point, Buffalo, Erie, in Pennsylvania, 
Cleveland and Detroit. 

The Erie canal being completed in the year 1825, and 
making a direct water communication between Lake Erie 
and the Hudson river, had cut off the Oswego and Niagara 
river route of transportation, and terminated the establish- 
ment of Porter, Barton & Co. with their wagoning over the 
portage, and the batteau navigation between the Schlosser 
landing above the Falls and Black Rock. 

On the Hudson river two towns, rivals for the commerce 
of the canal — Troy and Albany — opened the forwarding 
business. At its western termini Black Rock and Buffalo 
aspired in competition for it. Thompson & Co. at one, and 
Townsend & Coit at the other place were the chief pioneers 
of the trade, and both combined, with the Griffiths, of Troy, 
formed the "Troy and Erie Line" of canal boats, running 
from Lake Erie to the Hudson, the first, and for many years 
the most extensive line between the two waters. After this 
soon followed the "Pilot Line," the "Merchants Line" and 
other combinations of the different establishments connected 
with the canal and lake commerce. 

On the completion of the canal, other parties vigorously 
commenced the forwarding business on the lakes and canal. 
At Buffalo Creek, Johnson & Wilkeson; a firm composed 
of Ebenezer Johnson and Samuel Wilkeson. Asa B. Meech, 
now of this city, who came to Buffalo in the year 1824, in 
connection with Hiram Pratt, an older resident, built a 
warehouse on the creek in that year, and under the firm 
style of Pratt & Meech commenced the business. John 
Scott established himself as a forwarder in the year 1825. 
Thaddeus Joy and George B. Webster, under the firm name 
of Joy & Webster, commenced forwarding in 1826; and 


Peter Curtiss and Henry Root, the firm of Curtiss & Root, 
began the same year and built warehouse- on the creek. 

The forwarding business of Black Rock, however, was 
cf short duration. The damage to the pier at that place in 
the summer of 1826 interfered with it to some extent, and 
the culminating disasters to it by carrying a part of it away 
by flood and ice in the winter of 1&26-2J prevented the en- 
trance of vessels into the harbor ; and Sheldon Thompson & 
Co. came to Buffalo Creek in 1827, and went into the ware- 
house of Townsend & Coit temporarily, for the season. 
Colonel Barton, having previously left the firm of Thomp- 
son & Co., followed, the same year, and became a partner 
with Johnson & Wilkeson. These enumerated firms were 
comprised of enterprising, energetic men who grappled with 
formidable difficulties in the commencement of their new 
undertakings, but all succeeded in establishing on a perma- 
nent basis the business they founded. It was a day of small 
things then — a few thousand tons annually, to millions now 
— but the commencement of grander things to come. Buf- 
falo, in 1827, had barely 4000 population. 

Of all these energetic business men, active in 1827, only 
four, the venerable Harry Thompson, James L. Barton, 
John L. Kimberly, and Asa B. Meech, still hale and robust 
among our most reputed citizens, survive. Capt. James 
Sloan, the chief batteau navigator of those early days on 
the river, also remains the sole survivor of that hardy class 
of men ; x and Black Rock and Buffalo, once rival villages 
in the carrying trade and commerce of the great West, now 
consolidated in territory and government, and tied by mu- 
tual interests, form one populous and growing city. 

1. Harry Thompson died Oct. 27, 1873; jas. L. Barton, Oct. 6, 1869; 
John L. Kimberly, Dec. 21, 1884; Asa B. Meech, Jan. 4, 1869; and Capt. 
James Sloan, March 5, 1868. 




My recollections of canal forwarding- and boat building 
go back to the ^o's. My birthplace, New London, Oneida 
County, N. Y., in the early clays of canal traffic, was one 
of the most important points in the State for canal-boat 
building. My father, Solomon Porter Smith, a merchant 
of New London, early became interested in boat building. 
Hundreds of men who became prominent in canal matters 
came from New London and vicinity. Among them I recall 
Nathaniel Paige, Cyrus Peckham, Solomon Tuttle, Henry 
Patrick, Stephen Irons, Elijah P. Roberts, Amos A. Bissell, 
Charles Marcellus, and many others who built or ran boats. 

At Frankfort many boats were also built. Senator 
McGowan had a dry -dock there and was largely interested 
in the canal business for many years. He was a great help 
to the canal men in their long fight for reduction of tolls. 
Samuel Morgan of Frankfort was prominent in canal busi- 
ness in the 50's and 6o's. He later came to Buffalo and 
was for years connected with William Petrie in the for- 
warding business. 

At Rome, also an important boat-building point in the 
early days, William Parker had a dry-dock. A line of boats 
was run from Rome to New York in connection with the 
Pome & Watertown railroad, and for a time did a flourish- 
ing business. The completion of this railroad greatly af- 
fected traffic on the canal. Before it was built, from New 
London, Rome and other places in Central New York, all 

381 -f^ 


farm produce, lumber, etc., had to be hauled by team to thtr 
canal for shipment; and goods from New York had to he 
teamed back into the country towns as far north as Water- 
town. These conditions brought a very large business 
through New London. North of that town was a large 
tract of heavy timber, with much valuable pine. Wood for 
fuel was piled on the canal banks in winter and in summer 
boated to Syracuse for salt boiling. I remember having 
seen miles of these wood-piles. 

Durhamville was also a boat-building town, where 
Michael Doran had a dry-dock and boat-yard for many 
years. Mr. Doran is still remembered by many of the older 
canal men as a strong worker for reduction of canal tolls. 

At Chittenango boats were built by Frank Hosley ; the 
Pratt Bros, were builders at Pratt's Landing, and many 
boats were built at Phoenix. 

Many boat-men and builders came from the Oswego 
river. The late Ira Betts of Buffalo was one of them. He 
for a time had a line of boats on the canal, as did also James 
L. Breed, now of Syracuse. 

At Syracuse a leading builder was Henry Shattuck. 
There were many boat builders at Rochester, where some 
of the best boats were constructed by Craw & Knapp. 
Christopher Myers and P. J. Myers. 

Hundreds of canal-boat men in the earlier years hailed 
from Cayuga and Seneca lakes. Boat-building was an im- 
portant industry at Ithaca for a long time. 

At North Bay on Oneida Lake boats were built by a Mr. 
Cole and others. 

In the early 50^ and for a score of years later much 
flour was shipped from Rochester by canal. The Rochester 
Transportation Company ran its boats from that city to 
New York. Henry L. Fish, N. B. Ellison and E. Heath 
were the owners of the line. Mr. Fish was at one time 
Mayor of Rochester, also a Member of the Assembly and 
one of the most enthusiastic canal men in the State. 

Among the boat-builders at Lockport were B. F. Cady, 
Sidney and Albert Finn, and others. Lockport also was a 
great milling town half a century ago. Amos A. Bissell, 


formerly of New London, went to Lockport and established 
a line of boats on the canal and for many years shipped 
most of the flour from there. He served in the Assembly 
and was the originator of the bill abolishing canal tolls in 
this State. He later came to Buffalo, where he was asso- 
ciated with his brother John Bissell in the forwarding busi- 

There were many boat-building firms in Buffalo; among 
them Carroll Bros., Adam Homer, A. B. Edes, and Riley 

Among the active canal shippers in the early days here 
were: John Bissell, Adam Swan, Charles Thayer, all from 
New London ; William Petrie & Co., A. S. Carpenter & Co., 
J. C. Anthony, A. \V. Horton, A. L. Griffin, Nelson Loth- 
ridge & Co., Heath, Morse & Co., Silas Wright, Peter 
Wright, A. P. Wright, William Avery, J. L. Greenrnan, P. 
V. Carroll, Edward Delahunt & Co., John F. Plager, George 
Filkins, J. W. Bridgeman & Co., W. C Jacus & Co., Delos 
Graves, L. Porter Smith & Co., and many others. 

I came to Buffalo from New London in the early 6o's 
and was early connected w f ith the Boat-men's Association, 
of which Henry L. Fish was president, Walter B. Joy, vice- 
president, and Edward Hayes, secretary. 1 

i. Among the canal papers owned by the Buffalo Historical Society are 
two clearance books from the Collector's office, giving the name, cargo, etc., of 
canal boats cleared from Buffalo, from June 7 to Dec. 18, 1828. As matter of 
record, the names of some of these boats, their masters, etc., are here given: 


Lawrence Black Rock Augustus Todd 

Telegraph Rochester Ansel Ford 

Montezums Rochester Witt. Rogers, Jr. 

Napoleon Utica Lu'iher Baiker 

De Witt Clinton Rochester I^onard Crocker 

Corn Planter Norwich Archibald Clark 

Ganges Buffalo Wm. Tli3yer 

Atlantic Albany Otis Clapp 

Exchange Rochester C Higgins 

Ariadne Brockport Jonathan Lutt 

Red Rover Rochester Stephen Palmer 

Admiral Buffalo Archibald K. Hewson 

Commerce Brockport Chas. LSI. Brockway 

Rochester (packet) .... Utica Geo. T. Perry 

Emigrant Buffalo Oliver Capron 



Christopher Columbua . . . Rochester Hollis Daggett 

New Haven Rochester Wm. W. Weed 

Star Albany Levi Bennett 

Eclipse Albany Drayton Bromley 

Dunkirk Black Rock B. P. Peckham 

Envoy Rochester Justin Gates 

Ontario (packet) Utica Walter D. Smith 

Connecticut Rochester VVm. Wyman 

Farmer Tonawanda Elias Stone 

Citizen Albany Melancthon C. Wetmore 

Holland Furchanc Pendleton Ithel Hart 

Niagara (packet) Utica Joel Joslin 

Mary Rochester James Hitchcox 

Logan Black Rock John Martin 

Portland .....-•♦• Buffalo Ralph Woodruff 

N. W. Haverly ...... Schenectady S. O. French 

Baltic Buffalo T. Captn 

Chili Rochester Isaac Smith j 

Jerry .. Clyde J. W. Sober 

Detroit Rochester John R. St. John 

Bolivar Albany Harvey Cobb 

Andrew Jackson Salina Wm. Aldrich 

Buffalo Rochester Joel Cody 

Patrick Henry Troy Chas. Miles 

Ohio Rochester Ansel R. Cobb 

Most frequent items of freight were whiskey, salt, fish, lumber, ashes, 
cordv.ood, stave*, furniture. Packs of deer skins and furs were not unusual, 

and occasionally t!><* invoice includes a tierce or keg of bear's-grease, packages 

of beeswax, and "uw»coks" of maple sugar. No grain shipments appear. 



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Preserved in the archives of the Buffalo Historical So- 
ciety are many letters and other documents relating to the 
early history of the Erie canal. The following, dealing 
chiefly with the opening ceremonies in Buffalo, are selected 
as containing data appropriate for publication in connection 
with the other papers of this volume. 


The rival communities of Black Rock and Buffalo ap- 
pointed committees to look after the local arrangements in 
connection with the opening of the canal, in October, 1825 ; 
but the Buffalo committee, headed by Judge Samuel Wilke- 
son, forestalled their neighbors in perfecting the plans, as 
witness the following communication 1 : 

Buffalo, Oct. 14, 1825. 

Gentlemen : Your communication of this date has been reed, 
and in reply we have to inform you that the arrangements between 
the N. York and Albany Committees relative to the approaching 
celebration as published in the Stale paper of the 4th instant was 
early communicated, directing our immediate attention to the first 
recommendation of those Committees. 

In pursuance of that recommendation the preparations contem- 
plated, have been perfected, and publicly notified, previous to the 
receipt of your letter. You will therefore readily peiceive the im- 
practicability of our now making a new arrangement. We should 
however be highly gratified, and most cordially invite the citizens 
of your village to add to our committee such number as may be 

The original document is preserved by the Buffalo Historical Society. 



deemed suitable, to proceed with us in the Boat already prepared 
to pass on front this place for the purpose of participating in the 
general festivities of the occasion. 

Very respectfully, 

Sam'l Wilkeson 
Thomas C. Love 
Thaddeus Joy 
David Burt 
To Messrs. Hy Rutgers Stagg 

Sheldon Thompson 
Absolum Bull & 
H. C. Van Schaack 

Com. on behalf of 
the Citizens of B. Rock. 


Articles of Agreement made & executed this twenty fifth day of 
October in the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five, 
Between Josiah Beardsley of the Village of Black Rock of the first 
part and James Mason & Lester Brace of the same place, being a 
committee appointed by the inhabitants of said Village of the second 

IVitnesseth, That the said Joseph Beardsley for and in considera- 
tion of the covenants & agreements hereinafter mentioned doth 
agree to & with the said parties of the second part to lease hire or 
let unto the said parties of the second part the Boat called the Boat 
Niagara for the purpose of taking said parties of the second part & 
others whom they may associate with themselves to the City of New 
York or such other place as may be designated for the celebrating of 
the Grand Erie Canal. And the said Josiah further agrees to fur- 
nish the said Boat with a Captain Two hands & a Cook and tow 
said Boat as far as Lock Port, the said parties of the second part 
To have hold use and control of said Boat for the term of Three 
weeks from the date of these presents & then return said Boat to 
said Josiah at Black Rock in as good order as she now is necessary 
wear & decay & injuries occasioned by the carelessness or negli- 
gence of the Captain or hands excepted yielding & paying therefor 
unto the said Josiah or his executors or assigns the sum of one 
hundred & fifteen Dollars payable on or before the expiration of 
said Term of Three weeks. 

Original document preserved by the Buffalo Historical Society. 


In a large collection of manuscripts of William Hodge 1 
in the possession of the Buffalo Historical School, is found 
an account of the beginning of canal construction in Buf- 
falo. Mr. Hodge's narrative, somewhat condensed, here 
follows : 

"The eastern portion of the Erie canal was begun in 
1817. Where its terminus should be was not settled until 
the winter of 1822. The people of Black Rock expected 
that village to be chosen as the terminus ; the people of 
Buffalo wished to have it at Big Buffalo creek. The con- 


And the said James Mason & Lester Brace for themselves their 
& each of their executors & administrators jointly & severally do 
covenant & agree to & with the said Josiah Beardsley his executors 
administrators & assigns to pay the said Josiah Beardsley or his 
assigns the said sum of one hundred & fifteen Dollars for the use 
or hire of said Boat for the term of three weeks for the purposes 
above mentioned and further that they will furnish at their own 
charge provisions and other necessaries for said Captain hands & 
cooks during said term & also will provide the necessary team and 
utensils for conveying said Boat from the Village of Lock Port to 
the City of New York or other port of destination & Back to the 
Village of Black Rock within the said term of three weeks at their 
own charge & expense. 

And the said parties of the second part do further covenant & 
agree to and with the said party of the first part that they will re- 
turn said Boat to the Village of Black Rock within the said term 
of Three Weeks in as good order as She now is necessary wear & 
decay & injuries occasioned by the carelessness or negligence of the 
Captain or hands excepted. 

In Witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands & seals the 
date first above written. 

J. Beardsley 
Lester Brace 
In presence of Jas. Mason 

C. L. Hitchcock 

1. Died April 24, 1S87. 


troversy was hotly waged. Several surveys were made 
with r, view to carry iftg the canal through to Buffalo. One 
survey was run about one hundred rods east of and nearly 
parallel to the main road leading from the Cold Spring to 
the village of Buffalo, [This is now our Main Street.] 
The great objection to that route was the deep cutting 
which would be required through the sand hill, or, as we 
then called it 'Walden's Hill,' where now is High Street. 
Several other surveys were made through what is now 
Buffalo. At times the people of Black Rock would get 
some word favorable to their locality, when Major Frazer 
of Black Rock and others with him would get out the big 
gun and fire a salute with great rejoicing; then again, 
word would come favorable to the termination at Buffalo, 
and the Buffalonians would lire their cannon. After sev- 
eral months of controversy, it was finally settled that the 
canal was to come to Buffalo creek. The people of Black 
Rock were to have the privilege of seeing the canal boats 
pass by their village, for it was also determined to dam 
up a part of the Niagara river from the foot of Squaw 
island to Sandytown or Bird island, thus making a water- 
way which was a substitute for a part of the canal. 

"The contract for excavating the west end of the canal 
from Little Buffalo creek down half way or so to Sandy- 
town was given, I think, to Major John G. Camp. Word 
was given out and also published in our Buffalo newspaper 
that on a certain day ground would be broken for Clinton's 
big ditch. All were invited to come into the village from 
the surrounding country to take part in helping the great 
work. Many at that time declared it was an impossible 
undertaking and that it would never be finished. Many 
said they would ask no longer lease of life than to see the 
canal completed. It was finished within a few vears after 
its commencement and many of those doubters lived to see 
it in successful operation for many years. 

"Those who had ox teams were asked to drive them in 
to plow. My father owned two yoke of oxen. I yoked 
and hitched them on with the oxen of Col. W. W. Chapin, 
Marshall Smith, William Holt and some others, who came 


along- from Buffalo Plains, and we drove into the village 
with a team of some ten or twelve yoke of oxen. We all 
met on the boggy flat, about where Erie Street now crosses 
the canal. There was a great gathering of people. We 
arranged our teams and hitched to one of the largest plows 
we had. When all was ready for breaking ground, the 
word was given to 'go lang Buck/ and with our big plow 
and strong team we turned up the black mold and sod 
within certain stakes which marked the dimensions of the 
canal. 1 

'Those were not the days of strict temperance in West- 
ern New York, nor was total abstinence so necessary as in 
these later years. Our whiskey then was a pure article, 
made from rye, without adulteration, drugging or poison. 
All of our house and barn raisings, logging and husking 
bees, in fact all rejoicing and festal assemblies were accom- 
panied with a good supply of ardent drink in the shape of 
pure wmiskey, milk punch or eggnog. On this occasion it 
was simply pure whiskey that was provided bountifully 
and in true western style. Along the line of the canal, at 
convenient distances, was to be found a barrel of whiskey, 
pure old rye, with part of the head cut out and a tin dipper 
lying by and all were expected to help themselves. It was 
free for all. This was the only refreshment furnished by 
those who had charge of the first canal work in the village 
of Buffalo. 

"Major Camp had not at the beginning of the work 
procured wheelbarrows and plank for the use of the dig- 
gers. As a substitute, he had some scores of hand-carts or 
hand-barrows, but we who used them that day called them 
soul carts, it being such hard work to use them. They con- 
sisted of two small poles, some six or eight feet in length, 
laid parallel to each other, two or two and a half feet apart, 
with boards nailed across the middle. On these the earth 
and sods were piled and then with one man at each end and 
between the poles they were carried out beyond the stakes. 

i. Although Mr. Hodge does not fix the date, it is learned from other 
records that the scene he describes, the first digging on the canal in Buffalo, 
was done near the present Commercial-street bridge, Aug. 9, 1823. 


All took a hand in carrying earth to help make the big 
ditch, from the honored judge down to the schoolboy 

"It was a day of great rejoicing for the citizens of Buf- 
falo, for the accomplishment of the work promised to them 
a market for their grain and provisions. Before the canal 
was opened, we had no cash market for anything, and our 
surplus grain lay in our granaries year after year unsold." 


The following facts were communicated by R. W. 
Haskins to the Buffalo Express, in which paper they were 
printed, Oct. 31, 1866: 

In the year 1825 — a very remote history of our young city — was 
completed the Erie canal ; and on the 26th day of October, in that 
year, was began, in this then village, the grand celebration of that 
event, which was carried through the entire length of that great 
work, and finally terminated at the city of New York. 

The canal boat Seneca Chief was selected by the committee of 
arrangements as the first boat to pass through the entire length of 
the Erie canal. She was to start from Buffalo and proceed to New 
York, by way of the Erie canal and the Hudson river. This boat 
was here to receive Governor Clinton with some other State officials, 
and a Buffalo committee, as "through passengers," to which other 
committees were to be added from different towns along the route. 

As the origin of this affair was to be at Buffalo, there was no 
want of anxiety among the people of our little hamlet to add to the 
interest of the coming occasion. The committee of arrangements 
procured an original ode, written to music, which was sung during 
the ceremonies of the occasion. Although this ode was printed with 
the proceedings, yet the author's name did not appear, nor was the 
origin of the production generally known. It was, however, written 
by a journeyman mechanic, who was in my employ at that time. 
Governor Clinton's great services in carrying forward to completion 
the Erie canal were everywhere acknowledged, and a young artist 
by the name of Catlin, who then had rooms here, suggested to a 
few associates the preparation of a pencil compliment to that states- 
man, to be hung in the cabin of the Seneca Chief. The artist 
showed his friends a sketch of his inception, and it was so well 


received that he was urged to complete it without change. The 
piece was finished in oil, and it was agreed by the few in the secret, 
that it should be concealed until the occasion, and then secretly 
conveyed to the boat, and suspended in the cabin at the moment 
when the Governor, escorted by the committee, should approach the 
boat to embark. 

I was at that time editing the Buffalo Journal, and on the day in 
question, I was early abroad, collecting materials from which to 
produce a connected narrative of the fete, for publication. At the 
hanging of the picture I was present; and I remained to witness 
the effect upon the Governor and his attendants. The surprise was 
a complete success, the pleasure of which was greatly heightened by 
the chastely classic form under which the compliment was conveyed. 

When the boat left for its destination, which was at 10 o'clock 
a. m., I repaired to the Journal office and prepared from my notes 
the details of the occasion, which were immediately issued in an 
extra of that paper. In that extra, I gave the following description 
of the picture in question: 

"It was a classic, emblematical production of the pencil. _ The 
piece on the extreme left, exhibited a figure of Hercules, in a sitting 
posture leaning upon his favorite club, and resting from the severe 
labor just completed. The centre shows a section of the canal, 
with a lock; and in the foreground is a full length figure of Gov- 
ernor Clinton, in Roman costume. He is supposed to have just 
flung open the lock gate, and with the right hand extended (the 
arm being bare), seems in the act of inviting Neptune, who appears 
upon the water, to pass through and take possession of the watery 
regions which the canal has attached to his former dominions. The 
god of the sea is up in the right of the piece and stands erect in his 
chariot of shell, which is drawn by sea horses, holding his trident, 
and in the act of recoiling with his body, as if confounded by the 
fact disclosed at the opening of the lock. Naiades are sporting 
around the sea-horses in the water, who, as well as the horses them- 
selves, seem hesitating as if half afraid they were about to invade 
forbidden regions, not their own." 

Such was the picture which left Buffalo forty-one years ago the 
present month upon the Seneca Chief, and it has never returned. 
We repeat, then, the question here, namely: what has become of 
it? I had long supposed it was in the Clinton family, but our 
present Judge Clinton informs us that he has neither seen, nor ever 
before heard of it. Is it lost, then, or destroyed, or now in the 
accidental keeping of some one to whom its origin, its purpose- 
in a word, its history — is unknown? If in existence, it seemingly 
belongs, of right, to Buffalo. Both its inception and execution 
were here; and these were designed as covering the expression of 
our grateful people to a public benefactor, for the aid he had ren- 


dered in commercially connecting them with realms then most im- 
portant to their prosperity and happiness. If found, then, this early 
landmark of our settlement, it appears to me should be procured and 
made a part of the archives of our Historical Society, with a full 
history of its origin and its purpose. 

R. W. Haskins. 
Buffalo, Oct. 31, 1866. 


The following communication is now first published : 

Buffalo, April 7th, 1863. 
Guy H. Salisbury, Esq., 

Secretary Buffalo Historical Society. 

Dear Sir: In commemoration of that event, the completion of 
the Erie canal, on the 26th day of October, 1825, leaden medals bear- 
ing appropriate devices and inscription were struck off and distrib- 
uted throughout the State. Whether these were procured by the 
State authorities or by those of the city of New York, I do not 
recollect, but I am inclined to think, that it was by the latter. 

One of these medals is now in my possession, and being desirous 
of promoting the objects of the Buffalo Historical Society, I here- 
with present it, to be placed among its memorials of the past. 

The pageant, ceremonies, and rejoicings which took place on 
that and several subsequent days, from the Lakes to the Atlantic are 
matters of history, but there are some things connected with that 
event, of which so far as I know, no suitable record has been made, 
and deeming this a suitable occasion, I will jot them down here, 
that the memory of them may be preserved in the archives of the 
society. I refer to the telegraph which was improvised for that 
occasion, and which was so effectual in announcing to the waiting 
multitude from one extremity of the State to the other, the moment 
that the fleet of canal boats started from Buffalo on their voyage 
to the seaboard, there to mingle the waters of the Lakes, with those 
of Old Ocean. 

The material of which that telegraph was comprised and the 
manner of its application to the purpose was as follows: 

Some time during the winter of 1825, the Government of the 
United States resolved to break up the naval depot at Presque Isle 
(Erie, Pa.), and to that end sold at public auction, such of the 
public property, consisting of anchors, chains, cordage, etc., as would 


not bear the expense of removal, together with the hulls of the 
public vessels, then lying sunk somewhere in the bay. 

These were the vessels that composed Commodore Perry's fleet 
on Lake Erie, and those captured by him from the enemy, in his 
celebrated naval victory in September, 1813. 

The ordnance stores and guns were reserved for removal to the 
naval station at New York, and a contract was made with Dows, 
Meech & Carey, proprietors of the Washington Line, on the Erie 
canal, a forwarding concern, of which the late Hiram Pratt and 
Asa M. Meech, under the firm of Pratt & Meech, were the agents 
at Buffalo, to transport these guns and ordnance stores from Erie 
to New York. Pratt & Meech were the proprietors of a line of ves- 
sels on the lake, running in connection with the boats of the Wash- 
ington Line on the canal. 

The arrangement was for Pratt & Meech to receive these articles 
on board their vessels at Erie, convey them to Buffalo, then ship 
them on board canal-boats to be delivered at the navy yard, Brook- 
lyn, some time during the summer of that year, when there was 
much less "forwarding business," than during the spring and fall. 

Before this contract with the Government was fulfilled on the 
part t>f the Washington Line, the idea was conceived of making use 
of the guns while en route, as a telegraph or signals, to be used 
during the approaching canal celebration, the note of preparation 
for which had been heard for some months, and to that end the time 
for the delivery of the guns was extended to suit the exigencies of 
the case. 

In accordance with this design they were brought to Buffalo. 
One of them, a thirty-two pounder, was planted on the Terrace in 
this village (now city), another at Tonawanda, another at Pendle- 
ton, another at Lockport, and so on at intervals of from ten to 
fifteen miles, depending upon the caliber of the gun, all along to 
New York. 

On the morning of the memorable 26th of October, 1825, these 
guns were loaded without stint of powder, and the booming of the 
thirty-two pounder on the Terrace announced the departure of the 
fleet to the next one below, which belching forth its thunder tones 
sent the joyful news on the wings of the wind towards the sea- 
board, where, flying on from gun to gun, it arrived in one hour and 
twenty minutes. When the last gun stationed on the Battery- in 
New York, had given its note of warning, the signal was repeated 
back along the line to its starting-point, so that the anxious thou- 
sands might know of the success of this novel first attempt at tele- 
graphing from the Lakes to the Atlantic. The sound of the last 



gun in the return signals died away over the waters of the lake, in 
less than three hours from the firing of the first. 
Respectfully yours, 

Orlando Allen. 

P. S. — I was a clerk for Pratt & Meech, and took an active part 
in some of these preparations, consequently they are more firmly 
impressed upon my mind than they would have been probably had I 
been a mere looker-on. A. 








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On the evening of December 4, 1906, at a reception given for 
the members of the Historical Society, President Langdon presented 
to the institution a pair of antique bronze candelabra, accompanying 
the gift with the following remarks : 

Ladies and Gentlemen — I take this opportunity again to welcome 
you to our building, and to express the hope that the ensuing year 
may prove the pleasantest and most fruitful in the career of the 
Historical Society. 

I shall not detain you long, but wish, briefly, to call your atten- 
tion to an interesting form of art, by means of which a great deal 
of history is embodied and preserved. 

To find a starting point it is usually necessary to go backward. 
The first painting I ever bought was a little gem but a few inches 
in size. Larger and better canvases have since been added, but 
the day of small beginnings is not despised — the little Kenset is as 
much prized today as when first installed among my lares and 
penates. It was good seed and has borne good fruit. 

Many years ago there was received from cherished friends a 
wedding gift of a graceful figure of a young girl with a garland of 
flowers. That was a seed in bronze which has been fruitful in my 
personal life, with much resulting pleasure, whether derived from 
household trinkets or from observation of the great works of 
master minds, like Ghiberti's wonderful doors in the Baptistery at 
Florence, which were declared by Michael Angelo worthy to serve 
as the gates of Paradise. 




My theme, then, for a very few minutes, is the bronzemaker's 
art. Already, although no special effort has ever been made to 
collect articles in bronze for its museum, our institution has sev- 
eral notable articles in this class. Among the objects gathered in 
the Orient some years ago by that devoted friend of our society, 
Dr. Joseph C. Greene, are a number of bronze utensils and tools, 
from ancient Egyptian and Assyrian tombs. The bronzemaker's 
art is one of the oldest known to men. In another case in our 
collections, you can see several excellent and really precious ex- 
amples of fine bronze work, especially a large dish or plaque, and 
graceful ewers and vases, from the old Etruscan tombs of northern 
Italy. These came to us from another friend, Dr. Win. C. Barrett. 
We have also some examples of early Japanese bronze. 

In contrast with these antiques, is the bronze and marble bust 
of Nero which stands in the entrance hall, and which well illus- 
trates a form of work in which the Italians of the later Middle 
Ages attained great excellence. That bronze is a prized medium 
of art expression in our own day, is well attested by numerous ex- 
cellent examples close at hand. Two artistic wall-tablets in the 
central court of this building illustrate the fitness and beauty of 
bronze for memorial uses. The bronze doors which opened to 
admit us this evening combine utility, security and art — their sculp- 
tor, you may recall, being Mr. R. Ilinton Perry. The superb 
bronze statue of Lincoln, which is one of our chief possessions, is 
the work of the distinguished sculptor, Charles R. Niehaus ; while 
in the statue of Red Jacket in Forest Lawn, and the replica of 
Michael Angelo's David in the Park, near this building, we have 
two examples, of great educational value, of the service which 
bronze may render in behalf of both history and art. 

I have long found a special pleasure in this form of art; a form 
which is well nigh as old as art itself, and the notable examples of 
which in every capital of Europe, add so much to the traveler's 
enjoyment. Who for instance, that has stood before St. Mark's in 
Venice and contemplated those wonderful bronze horses over the 
principal entrance, has not seen in them the very embodiment of 
ages of history- and romance! As to their origin, even the experts 
in these matters cannot agree. Originally supposed to be the work 
of Lysippus, and to have been brought from Alexandria to Rome 
by Augustus, they are now said by certain investigators to belong 
to the age of Nero — say A. D. 2>7- They stood successively upon 
the triumphal arches of Nero, Domitian, Trajan and Constantine in 
Rome; were afterwards carried by Constantine to Constantinople, 
only to be brought back to Venice in 1204. The great despoiler — 


Napoleon — in 1797 carried them off to Paris and placed them on 
the Arc du Carrousa!, whence, happily, they were returned to 
Venice in 181 5. 

My allusion to Napoleon reminds me of a weird and haunting 
picture in the Wirz Gallery in Brussels. It depicts ''Napoleon in 
Hell." He is the central figure of the painting, surrounded by his 
victims — wretches all, minus arms and legs, with bandaged heads, 
with crutches and stubs of limbs, and with hatred in every face. 
In their midst is seen Napoleon, with countenance as immobile and 
unsympathetic as in the bronze of the bust before you. 1 

Pardon this digression — and permit another, for the associations 
of Napoleon and bronze come together in my mind. One of the 
curious sights today in Moscow is some 800 bronze cannon, left by 
Napoleon on Russian battlefields, now piled up like cord-v/ood in 
the Kremlin. 

Russia itself is the home of much wonderful work in bronze, 
both ancient and modern. In some forms of bronze art work no 
country excels her today. Every visitor to that country has mem- 
ories of the splendid bronze doors of St. Isaac's ; and every school- 
boy has read of the great bell of Moscow, the monarch of all bells, 
weighing 443,732 pounds, twenty-one feet four inches high, twenty- 
two feet in diameter and sixty-seven in circumference; twenty-two 
inches thick, with a value of metal stated at more than $300,000, 
and holding as it stands forty people, who enter through a break 
in the side. It is perhaps the mightiest fabrication in bronze; for 
although two or three of the great bronze Buddhas of Japan may 
be larger, they probably contain less metal than this gigantic bell, 
which was cast in 1736. 

The whole subject of bells might be entered upon in connec- 
tion with our consideration of bronze work, and would be found 
full of curious history. Whereas the earlier bells were compara- 
tively small, there developed after the thirteenth century an evident 
emulation to achieve large results. Yet even here China, foremost 
in so many things in early ages, was making great bronze bells 
before they were attempted in Europe. I instance the celebrated 
seven bronze bells of Pekin, each weighing 120,000 pounds. Bur- 
mah, too, has many enormous bells, which surpass those of other 
countries in their agreeable tone. In Europe, from 1448, when the 
eleven-ton bell of Cologne was cast, down to 1882, when a seven- 
teen and a half ton bell for St. Paul's, London, was successfully 
turned out, many of the European capitals and cathedrals have 

1. A bronze bust of Napoleon, not belonging to the Historical Society, 
adorned the speakers' stand on this occasion. 


come into possession of great bells, weighing from six to eighty 
tons. Moscow has four huge hells besides the 193-ton monarch 
already referred to. Perhaps there is no bell on earth more famous 
than the Big Ben of Westminster tower, made in 1856 and weigh- 
ing fifteen and a half tons. The largest bell on the American con- 
tinent, it is believed, is in the church of Notre Dame at Montreal. 
This was cast in 1847 and weighs thirteen and a half tons. 

But I must not be led away into a consideration of bells; for 
the subject, I confess, though a vast one, is attractive alike to stu- 
dents of music, of art and of history. 

How many parts in the world's history bronze has played ! Now 
the reliance of a Napoleon in the conquest of nations; now the 
medium through which a great artist records his inspiration; again 
the favorite and most enduring substance for works of simple 
utility; or still again, put to beautiful service for the soul life of 
mankind. The mellow boom of many an ancient bronze temple-bell 
has been heard throughout Buddhist lands for centuries. 

These are merely some of the associations of bronze with life 
and art. 

Among the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, the manu- 
facture of bronze articles was very extensively carried on. Their 
taste for statuary in this material was cultivated to a degree not at- 
tained by the moderns. The wealth of some cities was estimated by 
the number of their statues. In Athens alone no less than 3000 
statues have been found, and in Rhodes, Olympia and Delphi many 
more. The famous colossuses were cast of this alloy. The names 
of many of the ancient artists are still celebrated, and their groups 
of statuary continue to be our models. The alloy was employed by 
them for purposes to which we apply the harder metals, as in some 
periods for their arms and armor, medals, and even their surgical 
instruments, a set of which was discovered at Pompeii. By them 
it was regarded as a sacred metal, and endowed with mysterious 
powers of driving away evil spirits. The laws were inscribed on 
tables of bronze, and upon bronze coins alone were placed the 
words "moneta sacra. 1 ' The Phoenicians were the first known 
workers of it ; they made it into plates, which were nailed together ; 
and they also cast it solid, and cored. The Egyptians appear to have 
had the art of hardening it; as a chisel of bronze was found in one 
of their quarries, which had apparently been used for cutting 
porphyry, the marks of the chisel, and trace of the metal being left 
in the stone. 

Long before the days of the Egyptians and Phoenicians, archae- 
ologists tell us there was a Bronze Age, a period in the evolution 


of primitive man between the Stone Age and the Iron Age. The 
use of stone for weapons and utensils naturally preceded that of 
the metals; but by degrees, as deposits of copper and other metals 
were found near the surface of the earth, and as man learned to 
smelt and make alloys, so the use of several metals, in various pro- 
portions, came gradually to supersede the more primitive reliance 
on stone. This period in human history we call the Bronze Age. 
Of course, it was not a sharply-defined term of years, but like 
everything else in nature and in life, was a gradual growth, passing 
by degrees into a new order in which the use of copper alloys de- 
clined and the more serviceable iron took its place; and thus the 
Bronze Age was succeeded by the Iron Age, which ushered in the 
history of civilized man. 

But, as the few relics attributed to these remote days, now cher- 
ished in museums, testify, the earliest products in bronze belonged 
to the realm of the useful, rather than to that of the beautiful. In 
other words, the things of the Bronze Age, — which in Europe is 
approximately placed between 2000 and 1800 B. C, belong to 
Archaeology and not to Art, which is our special theme. 

As one studies the oldest bronzes now preserved in museums, 
he soon learns to trace the development of art forms. The 
Phoenician and the Greek carried to Italy and the south of Spain 
a taste and a love for the beautiful which left its impress upon the 
work of all peoples who came after them. Italy in particular was 
the inheritor of the world's best art impulses; and thus it came 
about that with the revival of learning and the arts, towards the 
end of what we term the Dark Ages, Italy was the world's art 
center, as Greece had been in the ancient days. 

In many aspects, the acme of Italian art was reached with the 
rise of the Medici family, prominent in the affairs of state, and as 
patrons of letters and art. In this period, marked by Medici 
ascendency, was created much of Italy's best sculpture, and paint- 
ing, and bronze work. The city of Florence — beloved today by 
every lover of the arts — was the seat of the Medicis. There were 
their palaces and there dawned the Golden Age in Tuscan art. It 
is too great a story to enter upon here ; but we may note that from 
the days of Cosmo the Elder, through the reign of Lorenzo the 
Magnificent, to the days of his grandson Lorenzo — father of Cath- 
erine de Medici, say from 1350 to 1550 — art work in bronze reached 
its highest perfection in Italy. It was in this period that Lorenzo 
Ghiberti achieved his baptistery gates, already alluded to. After 
twenty-one years' labor, aided by no less than twenty artists, these 


gates were set up in 1424. How much of life and effort a "master- 
piece" implies ! 

Among the contemporaries or early followers of Ghiberti were 
Filippo Brunelleschi, Donatello, Luca della Robbia and Valerio 
Cioli. The work of this last named artist excelled for its elegance 
of design and perfection of detail. One of the treasures of the 
Italian National Museum in Florence is a bronze candelabrum by 
Cioli. Elegant in form, of great wealth of ornament, perhaps its 
most interesting feature is the oval cartouche or escutcheon re- 
peated on each of the three sides of its triangular base, bearing the 
six pills which are the familiar emblem of the Medici arms. 

And now I must be a little personal. 

During a recent sojourn in Florence I found one day in the 
hands of a dealer in antiquities and art objects, not only one but 
two candelabra bearing the Medici crest. The workmanship was 
undoubtedly old — and that of a master ; it did not take long to 
establish the fact that they were, not replicas, but beyond question 
the original companions of the candelabrum in the National Mu- 
seum. The three were identical in size, ornamentation and ap- 
parent age. All bore three times repeated the Medici emblem. 
Perhaps in the days of Lorenzo the Magnificent they stood together 
in some marble corridor of his palace, or served to light the way 
up broad stairs for the braves and beauties of old Florence. At 
any rate, there they were, one owned by the Italian Government, 
two others in the antiquary's shop. 

I will pass over the negotiations which followed. Enough to 
say that they presently assumed an international character; and 
tonight the pair of bronze candelabra made by Varerio Cioli, under 
the patronage of the Medicis some time in the latter part of the 
fifteenth century, are here on the platform before you. I take 
pleasure in offering them for a permanent possession of the Buffalo 
Historical Society. 



The forty-sixth annual meeting of the Buffalo Historical Society 
was held at the Historical Building, Tuesday evening, January 14, 
1908. The President, Andrew Langdon, welcomed the audience 
with the following address: 


Members of the Historical Society, Ladies and Gentlemen: Once 
more it is my pleasant privilege to welcome you to the annual 
meeting of this society. We have reached our forty-sixth mile- 
post, and without imposing upon your patience any extended review 
of past years, you will permit me in a brief sentence or two to refer 
to some things done by our society. 

We have, first of all, with a fair degree of success, steadily 
carried out the main purpose of the founders of this institution, 
which was, that we should collect and preserve records and relics 
of historical value relating to Buffalo and its surrounding region. 
If we did nothing but that, we should well justify our existence and 
make this institution useful to all who come after. 

But, as I revert in memory to past years, I recall many special 
achievements which we can claim to our credit. Most of these, 
naturally, are in the field of memorials and mementos of men or 

Buffalo is not rich in monuments, but of those we possess, this 
society is to be credited, in whole or part, with the erection of the 
beautiful bronze statue of Red Jacket ; the soldiers' and sailors' 
monument in Lafayette Square — for, with the original project which 
resulted after many years in the erection of this monument, our 
society was actively identified ; as we have been also in the work 
of the Niagara Frontier Landmarks Association. 

It was this society that reburied in Forest Lawn the remains of 
Red Jacket's famous fellow-chieftains and marked their graves 
with suitable stones. Here, too, we have brought the remains of 
that splendid Seneca, capable soldier and worthy citizen, General 
Ely S. Parker. In this and in other historical work we have cooper- 
ated with the local posts of the Grand Army of the Republic. 


We have also rescued from oblivion the old burial ground at 
Williamsville, where soldiers of the War of 1812 camped and died. 

Nor should we forget in a list of memorials the bronze statue 
of Lincoln standing in our own building, for which, as for other 
Lincoln and Civil War relics preserved by us, the public is indebted, 
not only to the Historical Society, but to the Lincoln Birthday 
Association and its devoted founder, Julius E. Francis. 

Our most notable material contribution to the life of Buffalo is, 
of course, this building; but to one who gives thought to the his- 
tory of our city, the building is of far less consequence than its 

Its library — I may say its two libraries, for we are custodians 
of the John C. Lord collection as well as of our own — its portraits, 
preserving the features of hundreds of the men and women who 
made Buffalo; and its museums, almost wholly made up of gifts 
from many interested friends ; all of these collections exist today 
and are placed freely at the service of the student and the visitor, 
as the direct outgrowth of the desire of some of our predecessors 
years ago that there should be in Buffalo an institution whose duty 
it should be to collect and preserve things relating to our local 

I might dwell at much greater length on the past and what we 
have done or tried to do; but although it is our business to deal 
with the past, it is more to my present purpose to look into the 
future. If the original motto of this society was "Preserve," we 
have now reached the time when we should add to it another 
motto — "Make useful." To make this institution useful in the 
community in as many becoming and effective ways as possible, is 
at present our chief aim. 

While we continue to collect and preserve with even greater 
assiduity than ever before, we also bend our energies towards 
making our collections useful and towards a worthy participation 
in broader fields of historical work in which we may legitimately 
share to the advantage of our members. 

In my view, no effort of recent years except that which gained 
for us our building and present relations with the city has been a 
greater source of strength to this society than has come about 
through our share in the work of the American Historical Associa- 
tion. That, as you know, is the national organization of historical 
workers, made up not only of those who write and teach and study, 
but of historical societies themselves, both those which are sup- 
ported by their States and others which, like our own, are purely 
private in their character. 


Within the past two or three years this society has come to 
share in the work of the national organization. That participation 
has put us out of the class of ineffective and moribund organiza- 
tions, of which there are many bearing the name "historical," and 
has ranged us with those who seek to achieve each year something 
which will add, not only to their historical organizations, but to 
the material for historical study, especially in their own field. 

Although this association with the national organization is not 
a source of revenue, I still venture to believe that it is a source of 
material strength to our society. 

The time seems to have come when institutions like ours, if 
they have any guiding hands, any guiding minds, in historical 
work, and any resources with which to carry on that work, will 
recognize the advantage to be gained from cooperation. 

There are already in some States federations of historical so- 
cieties. These federations seek to do certain things which few so- 
cieties alone can do. Generally speaking, they are working out 
uniform plans for the gathering of historical material from Govern- 
ment archives, or other depositories, and then for its listing, so 
that even if not published students may be told where to go for 
desired information. And last of all, as means allow, orderly 
methods of publication are being taken up, so that there is not as 
heretofore a duplication of work and needless expense. These, in 
general terms, are some of the things which are brought about 
largely through the stimulus of the national Association; whether 
or not our society can share in some such federated work with its 
sister societies in this State remains to be seen. 

New York State, although first in many things, is by no means 
first in its acceptance of modern methods of historical study. But 
we have at least reached the point where the opportunity is recog- 
nized, and it will rest with such of our members as have a taste for 
historical research, and with our whole body as a financial backing 
for the workers, whether or not we make some advance in this line 
the coming year. 

•There is one other line of our work which I desire to mention: 
1 refer to our Society Publications. Begun in 1879, they were dis- 
continued by the society for lack of support the following year. 
It is only within recent years that we have been able to resume this 
work which we are now carrying forward with at least one result- 
ing volume annually. Our series has reached its eleventh volume. 
Volumes 10 and 11 are devoted to the life record of our first presi- 
dent and one of the founders of this societv. Millard Fillmore. We 


have long felt that we owed to Mr. Fillmore's memory a recognition 
which has not hitherto been accorded to him by any scholar. 

In the two latest volumes of our Publications there have been 
gathered as fully as possible without further delay, Mr. Fillmore's 
speeches, addresses on many occasions, official and private corre- 
spondence. I think you will agree with me on examining these 
volumes and considering their relation, not only to many events 
and institutions in our own city, but to the great national issues 
of Mr. Fillmore's time, with which he was called upon to deal — 
you will agree, I think, that these volumes are by long odds the 
most important contributions to American history which we have 
yet put out. No attempt has been made in compiling them to pro- 
vide a biography of Mr. Fillmore: the distinct purpose has been 
to gather his own words so that when his biographer shall appear 
there will be no lack of material at hand by which Mr. Fillmore's 
character and conduct may be fairly judged. 

No judgment yet reached by any American historian has been 
based on such a full exhibition of Mr. Fillmore's own work as we 
are now able to make. 

I have spoken of the monuments which this society has erected. 
If we are encouraged in our efforts to continue and to develop our 
Publication series, giving it as high a character and worthy setting- 
forth as possible, we shall be warranted, I think, in regarding it 
after all as not the least of the monuments erected by this society; 
and not merely because it is a credit to us — though we hope that 
will be the case — but because these volumes set forth and preserve 
records otherwise lost or perverted. No other agency attempts 
the service for Buffalo and its vicinity that we are doing in this 
publication work. I may add that the limitations on the work are 
chiefly those of expenditure ; as we are strengthened in our finan- 
cial resources, so can we increase this work. It rests with you as 
members and with the community to whom we look for new mem- 
bers, whether or not this work shall notably grow in the coming 

The reports of our Secretary-Treasurer will inform you of many 
details of the past year, to which I need not refer. 

I am prone to repeat what I have said on every recurrence of 
this occasion : We need new members ; we want the young as 
well as the elderly, for we want as many worthy citizens of Buffalo 
as possible to feel interested in our society and our work, and to 
profit as only members can profit therefrom. 


The annual reports of the Secretary-Treasurer were read and 
Messrs. Albert H. Briggs, M. D., R. R. Hefford, Lee H. Smith, 
M. D., Willis O. Chapin and Loran L. Lewis, Jr., were elected mem- 
bers of the board of managers for a term of four years. Following 
the business meeting, the Hon. Henry W. Hill addressed the audi- 
ence on "New York State and the Lake Champlain Tercentenary 

At the annual election of officers, January 16, 1908, the officers 
of 1907 were all reelected. The secretary's report for the year 1907 


The Secretary's report to the Board of Managers for the year 
ending December 31, 1907, is as follows : 

Condition of the Society. Speaking generally, the past year has 
been a good one for our society. We have made some gain in 
membership, we have materially improved our property, we have 
carried on our work in the various lines which we recognize as 
legitimate and we have, it is believed, in some degree made the 
institution useful in the community and established it more firmly 
than ever in the esteem of the citizens of Buffalo. 

Building. The condition of the Society's building is today better 
than ever before. The work which was begun in 1906 with funds 
specially appropriated for repairs and betterments by the city has 
been continued as far as resources would allow. Ornamental iron 
guards have been placed on all of the basement doors and windows. 
This work instead of detracting from the appearance of the build- 
ing proves to be somewhat ornamental and adds materially to our 

The inside work done during the year has been almost wholly 
in the basement; the plaster and cement baseboards, moldings and 
bases of pillars, which had gone to pieces, have been replaced with 
Tennessee marble. The cement floor of the basement has been 
relaid when necessary. Plumbing has been renewed and repaired in 
the public toilets. The heating plant has been materially extended 
and radiators installed in the hitherto unused rooms under the 
south approach. Perhaps the most satisfactory interior work of 
the year has been the completion of the large room at the west, 
end of the basement which was left by the New York Commission 
in 1901 wholly unfinished, the walls not being even plastered. This 
room has now been plastered, the floor taken up for sewer con- 
struction underneath and relaid, necessary woodwork supplied and 
the walls on the four sides shelved to the ceiling for the accommo- 
dation of newspaper files and public documents. A map case has 


also been built for the preservation of our mounted maps. All of 
this work has been clone as simply and inexpensively as possible, 
and while it is by no means ideal library construction, yet it en- 
ables us to take better care of this mosi important part of our lit- 
erary material. The room is one of the best lighted and most 
easily warmed in the building and is now at the service of any 
visitor who wishes to consult these files. 

The exterior work done during the past year includes the entire 
reconstruction of the north steps and abutments and the rebuilding 
of the abutments and facing wall of the south approach. It was 
found impossible to make definite contracts for this work, as none 
of the contractors who were invited to bid on it would undertake to 
fix a limit to the cost. The Building Committee of the Board and 
the entire Board (so far as the members attend the meetings and 
were cognizant of the work in hand), approved the course which 
has been followed, namely: that of proceeding by day's work, con- 
tractors rendering to the Board a weekly statement of labor and 
expense. As the work went on, it was found necessary to take 
down the heavy abutments on the south side as far as the founda- 
tion in order to rebuild the walls in which cracks had appeared, 
owing, in the opinion of the architect and contractors, to a sub- 
sidence or settlement of the filled ground on which a part of this 
south approach rests. Other causes also added to the expense of 
reconstruction, so that the cost of material and of labor largely 
exceeded the special appropriation which had been secured from 
the city for these items. In the judgment of the Board, it was 
advisable to carry the work through on the basis as undertaken. 
As the south approach now stands all of the marble blocks which 
had moved from their true place have been reset and anchored 
with angle irons; the large abutments have been reconstructed, 
the cap-stone now being so set and channeled that water will run 
from it readily with little or no chance to enter the joints, and the 
main flight of steps leading up to the portico have been similarly 
channeled and pointed. We were told from the outset that the 
pointing would not last and experience shows this to be true. There 
has been no time when the joints in the steps were water-tight. 
We were advised that it would be necessary to construct an inner 
roof or water-shed, under the steps in order to keep the rooms 
in this portion of the basement perfectly dry. That work, on ac- 
count of cost, has not been undertaken, but as no interior finish 
has been attempted it can be added at any time without any waste 
of funds for decorative work. The rooms under the south ap- 
proach have been finished in cement and supplied with radiators 
and the whole area of the basement is now heated. While this 
makes a greater draft on our coal supply than heretofore, it seemed 
advisable for the proper preservation of the building and the com- 
fort of its occupants. The present winter will no doubt test the 
work that has been done so that by spring we will be well advised 
as to what further work is needed. The basement as a whole needs 
decoration — at least some uniform tinting of walls to remove the 
disfigurement of stains from water and of patching in the plaster. 
Partly because it seemed well to wait to discover if further leakage 
developed and partly for lack of funds, it was found advisable to 


postpone all work of this character. It is, however, a present need 
of our building and should be done the coming year. In my last 
report I called attention to the interior decoration of the ceiling- 
over the middle court and gallery museums. Nothing elaborate is 
suggested, in fact a mere tinting to get a warmer tone to cor- 
respond with the general color scheme, which would be in my 
judgment the only decoration desirable. The present ceiling is in 
the hard, cold white of the original construction. This work, while 
desirable, has not been deemed urgent, especially as there is still 
some trouble with roof leakage. 

From the day the society took possession of the building until 
now there has always been more or less of leakage in the roof and 
although we have spent large sums on it, it cannot be said to be 
in a satisfactory condition even now. 

This brings me to one other urgent need of the building if it is 
to be preserved, that is, the removal of the metal cornice and the 
substitution of a marble cornice. This would in fact only be the 
completion of the building according to the original design. When 
this work is done, the roof should be further overhauled and put 
in absolutely perfect condition. An estimate for a new cornice two 
years ago was made, and the needed amount was asked for from the 
city, but cut out of the estimates. 

The city of Buffalo has nowhere freer use of property than in 
this building. While the care of it falls on the society, the profit 
and enjoyment of it are free to all. It represents, as it now stands, 
nearly a quarter of a million of dollars. If it is to be properly pre- 
served for the continued use of the people of Buffalo, the repairs 
indicated should be made and so well made that for a time at least 
an end can be put to this constant reconstruction; and it should 
be clearly understood that the sooner work such as the new cornice 
is done, the less will be the cost of doing it, for to such a building 
every season of neglect brings more and more of deterioration. 

Last fall the bronze candelabra procured by President Langdon 
in Florence and presented to this society, were installed on new- 
bronze bases, fitted with suitable fiame-shaped globes and electrical 
connections, and are now conspicuous additions to the beauty of the 
north approach. 

Membership. The society has tonight 794 members, divided as 
follows: Patron, 1; honorary, 7; corresponding, 128; life, 138; 
resident or annual, 520. 

Our losses during the past year have been almost wholly by 
death or removal from the city. In no year since the secretary 
has been conversant with the society's affairs have there been so 
few resignations. To his mind this indicates a degree of interest 
among the members which speaks well for the place the society 
holds in the community. This seems to be the place to repeat what 
has been said in former reports — that the society greatly desires 
more members, especially those whose work or whose interests as 
students are at all on historical lines. The maintenance of the 
building is covered by an income from other sources. This leaves 
us free to use for the members the income received from the mem- 
bers in annual dues. The more members we have, therefore, the 


more we can do for thrm. There is practically no limit to what 
can be accomplished in (he way of historical publication, providing 
the funds are available In carry on this feature of our work. Every 
member who feels disposed to help the society in this work can not 
do better than to find one or more new members for our list. 

The income from life memberships constitutes a permanent fund 
which, under the by-laws of the society, cannot be dissipated. As 
we have at present "no endowment, this constitutes our only perma- 
nent fund. We greatly desire more life members. 

The losses by death from our membership during 1907 were as 
follows : 

Jan. 6 John Feist Resident member 

Feb. 9 Robert Gerhard, 

14 Joseph P. Dudley, Life member 

Mar. 19 George Wads worth, Resident^member 

21 Allen E. Dav, 

Apr. 17 C. M. Farrau 

May 13 Frank H. Goodyear, 

Jim. 2 Mrs. W. E. Sh.verthorne, 

6 August A. Langenbahn, Life member 

Jul. 31 Joseph Krumholz, Resident member 

Sep. 13 Dr. Electa 15. Whipple, 

27 Lyman M. Baker, 

28 Capt. March:-. M. Drake, 

Several of these rruMnU-rs were of long standing in their associa- 
tion with the society. Mr. Joseph P. Dudley joined the society 
January 17, 1874, and since May, 1899. had been a member of its 
Board "of Managers. From the first he had been devoted to the 
welfare of the organization. As one of the directors of the Lincoln 
Birthday Association Mr. Dudley was instrumental in bringing 
about the transfer of the Julius E. Francis collection and fund to 
the Historical Society. With the fund was procured the bronze 
statue of Lincoln that now stands in the court of our building. As 
was stated in the resolutions adopted by the Board on Mr. Dudley's 
death: "In all his relations to this Board, as in all the relations of 
life, he brought good chcCf and good counsel." 

Museums. The society has never devoted money to its museums, 
except to provide cases. The articles on view have all come by 
gift. Lmder the circumstances, it is to be expected that there 
should be great variety in the character of the collections, with little 
scientific completeness. As a matter of fact, however, the collection 
as a whole is far better than would be expected. Especially in the 
Indian department, thanks to such friends of the society as Barton 
Atkins, Jonathan Scovil!<\ and especially Wm. B. Cottier, our pos- 
sessions arc of value and genuine educational worth. During the 
year the greater part of »h<- collections have been relabeled. 

Various Activities. During the year the society has given 
twenty-eight lectures and two musicals for the public, six evening 
entertainments, including a reception, exclusively for members. 
The Sunday afternoon lectures were discontinued for a time owing 


to the illness of the secretary. Our members may count on a num- 
ber of entertainments of high character during the present season. 
What we do in this line for the public will in a measure depend on 
the appreciation shown, by attendance, and by new accessions to 
membership. A course of lectures, and one or two special exhibi- 
tions, are contemplated. 

In September we offered the hospitality of our building to the 
American Social Science Association, the New York State His- 
torical Association and the Eighth District Branch of the New 
York State Medical Society. The sessions of these various societies 
were full of interest and enjoyed by all who attended. During Old 
Home Week, in October, we arranged a loan exhibition ; and to 
representatives of the society was entrusted the arrangement of the 
official programme. As was to be expected, very many visitors 
returning to Buffalo for that reunion inspected our building and 

In October, also, by arrangement with the School Department, 
over four thousand children of the public schools, and also nu- 
merous classes from the parochial schools, visited the Historical 
Building, with their teachers and in some cases with their prin- 
cipals, spending an hour in the museums, sometimes with descrip- 
tive talks by an attendant. It is the desire of the officers of this 
society to cooperate as fully as possible with the schools of the 
city, and the Secretary but expresses the sentiment of the Board 
in extending as widely as possible the invitation to all, whether 
children or adults, who can find in our collections here any assist- 
ance in their studies, to come and make free use of what we have. 

The society has also been brought into close relations with the 
American Historical Association, sharing in the conference of State 
and local historical societies, held at Madison, Wisconsin, in De- 
cember. This phase of our work has been dwelt upon by President 
Langdon in his report and need only be alluded to here. We have 
shared in the work of the Niagara Frontier Landmarks Association. 
We have gone on record in formal resolutions relative to certain 
historical movements of wide interest. A resolution adopted by 
the Board was submitted to the State Senate urging the acceptance 
on the part of the State of the gift from Plon. William P. Letch- 
worth of his beautiful estate on the Genesee, known as Glen Iris, 
to be devoted to the free use of the public as a park. Similarly, 
the Board has adopted resolutions in behalf of the scenic and his- 
toric features of the Niagara Frontier; and urging the State of 
New York to take appropriate action for the celebration of the 
tercentenary of the discovery of Lake Champlain and favoring the 
erection of a permanent memorial in relation thereto. 

Other matters of an historic character which very likely will 
receive our attention at an early date are the celebration of the 
three hundredth anniversary of the discovery of the Hudson, which 
falls, as does the Champlain celebration, in 1909; and, of more 
vital importance, it is the purpose of the Board to promote, if pos- 
sible, some method of associated work between the different his- 
torical societies of this State, at least so far as relates to the loca- 
tion of documentary material now scattered in private hands or 
buried in institutions which do not publish. 


Publications. This brings us to the phase of our work which 
has occupied more of the Secretary's time during the past year 
than anything else — the collection and editing of material for 
Volumes X and XI of our Publications. The President's report 
has already touched upon this subject and I need only record that 
these volumes are devoted to the writings and speeches of Millard 
Fillmore, our purpose being to put in enduring shape as full a 
record as possible of Mr. Fillmore's public career. He is, perhaps, 
the only President of the United States of whom no adequate 
biography exists. He was President at a period when the very life 
of the nation depended upon the policy pursued by its legislative 
and executive departments. That he was bitterly assailed and 
maligned for his course is a matter of record, but it has remained 
until now for any attempt to be made to present Mr. Fillmore's 
own utterances and own views as fully as possible on the ques- 
tions with which he was called to deal. While this society does not 
publish his biography, it is giving to the world a body of material, 
much of it now for the first time published, which will enable the 
biographer when he shall appear to treat of Mr. Fillmore and his 
attitude towards the questions of his day with a greater degree of 
justice than has heretofore been possible. Our publication of these 
papers, I may add, is, in our view, a matter of justice to the memory 
of our first president and one of the founders of this society. 
Very few of his manuscripts were in our possession, very few in 
fact appear to exist in any single depository. By dint of much 
correspondence we have brought together a most interesting col- 
lection, especially of his private correspondence. You. will find in 
these volumes many letters written to the statesmen or public men 
of his own day, including Webster, Clay, Everett, James Brooks, 
Erastus Brooks, Horace Greeley, and others; and especially letters 
written to Thurlow Weed, the great master-mind of New York 
State politics for many years. For a most interesting collection in- 
cluding some scores of letters to Mr. Weed which revealed the 
inner history of New York State politics through a considerable 
period of years, this society owes an especial word of acknowl- 
edgment to Thurlow Weed's granddaughter, Mrs. Emily Weed 
Hollister of Rochester, through whose great courtesy we are al- 
lowed to make use of the letters. 

The society has also pledged its support in a project of coopera- 
tive publishing of an annual bibliographical review of "Writings on 
American History." This project is in the able hands of Dr. J. 
Franklin Jameson, director, Department of Research, Carnegie In- 
stitution; and our contribution, not to exceed $50 per year for five 
years, is contingent on the guarantee of a sufficient fund to ensure 
the accomplishment of the work on a plane and scope altogether 
creditable. It is a distinct aid to our society to be thus prominently 
identified in the promotion of a national undertaking. 

Library. During the year we have added to the library 821 vol- 
umes, of which 764 were gifts or received by exchange from other 
institutions. The total number of catalogued items in our library 
at the end of the year was 17,219; this does not include the greater 
part of our bound newspapers and public documents, nor a large 


collection of the unbound material, the latter, however, being in 
part classified and available for the student. 

So far as our library grows by purchase, it is developing in an 
orderly way so as to become as full a collection as possible of books 
relating to the history, not only of Buffalo, but of the greater region 
of whose history we are a part. Anything relating to the develop- 
ment of the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes valley in the early 
periods of our national history should have a place here, as should 
also the literature of the several wars of the Indians of Western 
New York, the development of canal and railway traffic and of the 
lake marine; and, in short, the story of every phase of the evolu- 
tion of this section of the country should be here gathered as fully 
as possible. 

Something has been done the past year towards adding to our 
collection of newspapers and taking better care of what we have. 
Much of our library expenditure was for rebinding files neglected 
for many years. The society has, undoubtedly, the best collection 
of the newspapers of Buffalo and vicinity anywhere to be found, 
and we are now better able to place them at the service of the 
public than ever before. 

Donors to the library during the past year include, besides public 
institutions, the following friends whose interest is much appre- 
ciated : 

Lady Meux of London, England; Mrs. Emily Weed HolHster, 
Rochester; Miss Eliza A. Blakeslee, Caledonia; Miss Harriet 
Buck, Miss Mary M. Hawley, Mrs. Emma A. Rice, and Messrs. 
George II. Lamb, Walter J. Shepard, Bruce Cornwall, Andrew 
Langdon, Hon. Daniel H. McMillan, Frank H. Severance, Henry 
W. Hill, Henry C. Rew, John C. Graves, Ralph Bowman, John D. 
Meister, Robert Lynn Cox and Henry R. Howland. 

While the list of gifts to the museums and portrait collections 
contains no one article of striking prominence, it contains many 
things which are historic and add to the interest of our building. 
The full list of donors and donations, too long to be submitted 
here, is preserved in our records. 



Sep. 11-14. Annual convention, American Social Science Associa- 
17-18. Annual convention, New York State Historical Asso- 
25-26. Annual meeting, Medical Society of the State of New 
York, Eighth Judicial District. 
Oct. 13. Address by Frank H. Severance on Oliver Wendell 
Holmes, with exhibition of bust given by Richard 
20. Address on "The Municipal League of Buffalo," by the 

Secretary of the League, Robert S. Binkerd. 
27. Address on "Honolulu, the Paradise of the Pacific," by 
Mrs. George W. Townsend. 


17. Evening entertainment for members: "Hiawatha Re- 
cital," by Miss Mabel Powers of Rochester; Miss 
Mary Harrison of Rochester, pianist. 

Dec. 13. Evening entertainment: Recital of the "Christmas 
Carols" of Charles Dickens, by Mr. E. S. William- 
son of Toronto; piano selections by Mr. Edward 
F. Haendiges of Buffalo. 

Jan. 14. Annual meeting; election of trustees; address by Hon. 
Henry W. Hill, on "New York State and the Lake 
Champlain Tercentenary Celebration." Annual re- 
ports of officers. 

Feb. II. Lecture by Maj. Louis Livingston Seaman on "Some 
of the Evils of Colonization." 

16. Address : "Some Old Buffalo Characters," by Frank M. 


23. Address : "George Washington," by Rev. Wm, Burnett 

Mar. 23. Illustrated lecture by Dr. Edgar J. Banks, archaeologist. 
Subject: "Bismya, the oldest city on earth." 
29. Address by Basant Roy, a Hindoo of Calcutta, on "The 
present crisis in India." 
Apr. 5. Address by William Edward Foster, on "My Experi- 
ences on a Blockade Runner during the Civil War." 
19. Piano Recital, Miss Allene von Liebich. 
26. Address : "Story of the Great Hudson River Chain," 
by Frank H. Severance. 
May 3. Address : "Some Curiosities of Bible Translation," by 
Frank H. Severance. 
10. Exploration of the Indian Ossuary at St. David's, Ont. 
Address and exhibition of relics, by Dr. A. L. 

17. Address : "Present Status of the Philippines," by Lt- 

Col. Wm. H. C. Bowen, 13th U. S. Infantry. 
19. Members' meeting: Paper on "Early Recollections of 
Buffalo," by Mrs. Julia F. Snow ; songs by Dr. 
Frederick C. Busch; Dr. Prescott Le Breton, ac- 

24. Recital, Miss Lina S. Hartman. 

Jun. 23. Annual Commencement, School 21 (North Park School, 
Hertel Ave.). 


Abbott, J. W., of Cornwall, 162. 
Abell, William H., 316; president of 

Buffalo Board of Trade, 32S. 
Abraham, A., of Brooklyn, 17. 
Adam, James N., mayor of Buffalo, 

Adam, Robert B., chairman of Grades 
Crossings Commission, 308-3 10; 
"History of the Abolition of Rail- 
road Grade Crossings in the City 
of Buffalo," cited, 309 note; presi- 
dent of Buffalo Merchants' Ex- 
change, 328. 

Adams, Charles L., of New York, 
vice-president of Syracuse conven- 
tion, 17; member of finance com- 
mittee of Canal Association of 
Greater New York, 47. 

"Admiral," boat, 383 note. 

Advisory Board of Consulting Engi- 
neers, personnel, 63-64. 

Advisory Commission on Differential 
Rates by Railroads, 77; report 
quoted, 80-81. 

Aetna building, Buffalo, 240. 

Albany, N. Y., canal conference, 
I903. 63, 175; canal hearing, 1898, 
160; cost of transportation to New 
York, 219; boats owned at, 383-384 

Albany Argus, 370. 

Albany Board of Trade, organized, 

Albany county, N. Y., vote on barge 
canal question, 192. 

Aldrich, William, boat master, 384 

Allds, Jotham P., at banquet to Gov. 
Roosevelt, 43. 

Allegany county, N. Y., loss of popu- 
lation, 99; vote on barge canal 
question, 193. 

Allen. George W., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 250. 

Allen, John, subscription to 100th 
Regiment fund, 274. 

Allen, John, Jr., delegate to National 
Ship-Canal Convention, 311. 

Allen, Lewis F., "Recollections of the 
Pearly Forwarding Trade," 377-379- 

Allen, Orlando, 276; letter to G. IT. 
Salisbury, concerning the Erie canal 
gun-telegraph, 392-394. 

Allerton, I). D., of New York Prod- 
uce Exchange, 107 note. 

Ambler, Henry S., introduces bill to 
sell canals, 171. 

American Cheap Transportation Asso- 
ciation, 316. 

American News Co., 6. 

"Andrew Jackson," boat, 384 note. 

Andrews, F. H., vice-president, mem- 
ber of board of managers, Produce 
Exchange, 107 note. 

Andrews, William, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 250. 

Angle, Charles E., of Rochester, mem- 
ber of State committee, Syracuse 
convention, 17; Buffalo convention, 

Annin, R. E., vice-president of Prod- 
uce Exchange, 107 note. 

Anthony, Edward L., of Buffalo, 164. 

Anthony, J. C, canal shipper, 383. 

Anti-canal convention, 177. 

"Ariadne," boat, 383 note. 

Arkell, James, of Canajoharie, mem- 
ber of State committee, Syracuse 
convention, 17; Buffalo convention, 


Armour, O. II., of New York Produce 

Exchange, 79. 
Armstrong, Charles B., trustee of 

Gratuity Fund, 299. 
Armstrong, George E., 6. 


Arnold, II. W., of Albany, 170. 

Association of Dealers in Buildi 
Materials, 50. 

Assouan dam, 156. 

Atheam, Cyrus, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 250. 

"Atlantic," boat, 383 note. 

Auburn Businessmen's Association, 13. 

Austin, Da S., 2J2,. 

Austin, Stephen G., 280. 

Avery, William, canal shipper, 381. 

Ayrault. N., original member or Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 250. 

Babcock^ Geeorge R., 280. 

Bacon, Francis E., of Syracuse, mem- 
ber of State committee, Syracuse 
convention, 17; of Executive com- 
mittee, 18; of State committee, 
Buffalo convention, 23; of Barge 
Canal committee, Utica convention, 

"Badger State," steamer, 272, 274. 

Baird, Frank B., of Buffalo, vice- 
president of Syracuse convention, 
17; speaks at banquet to Gov. 
Roosevelt, 46; at hearing of Com- 
merce Commission, 161; delegate to 
Syracuse convention, 164; member 



of canal committee of Buffalo Mer- 
chants' Exchange, 164, 166; dole- 
gate to Syracuse convention, 190 1, 

Baker, Howard H., 283. 

Balch, George W., chairman of Canal 
committee of New York Produce 
Exchange, 95- 

Baldwin, Loammi, engineer, 359, 360. 

Ball, Conway W., inspector of grain, 

"Baltic," boat, 384 note. 

Baltimore, freight rates to, 77, 81-S3, 
87; International Commercial con- 
vention, 1871, 313-314- 

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, improve- 
ments, 66; complaint of Produce 
Exchange against, 90. 

Baltimore Board of Trade, 254. 

Barber, Herbert, of New York Prod- 
uce Exchange, 79; member of board 
of managers, 107. 

Barge canal, resolutions of Canal As- 
sociation of Greater New York, 48- 
50; report of committee 011 route, 
55; bill drafted, 56-58; passed, 67; 
plan of campaign, 67-68; vote of 
the people, 75, no; "Action of the 
New York Produce Exchange rela- 
tive to Railroad Differentials and 
Canal Enlargement," by ii. B. He- 
bert, 77-108; "Inception of the 
Barge Canal Project," by F. V. 
Greene. 109-120; estimated cost, 
117-11S, 130; estimated cost of 
transportation through, 1.2S; influ- 
ence upon freight rates, 135-156; 
cost of construction and operation 
of barges, 138; survey bill passes, 
163; $26,000,000 bill defeated, 168; 
referendum bill of 1902 defeated, 
170-171; both parties declare in fa- 
vor of, 173; hearings on bill, 175- 
176; schemes to defeat bill, 175; 
bill passed, 176; election carried, 
179; "Reminiscences of the Barge 
Canal Campaign," by H. j. Smith, 
181-1S5; vote by counties, 192-193. 

Barker, Luther, boat master, 383 note. 

Barnes, John V., of New York, vice- 
president of Syracuse _ convention, 
17; of Buffalo convention, 22; on 
executive committee for banquet to 
Gov. Roosevelt, 43; president of 
Produce Exchange, 107 note. 

Barrows, Elliot T., on executive com- 
mitter, banquet to Gov. Roosevelt, 
43; letter to J. A. Fairlie, quoted, 
93; issues invitation to canal meet- 
ing, 96; president of Produce Ex- 
change, 107 note. 

Barton, Benjamin, of Lewiston, 377. 

Barton, Tames L., temporary chair- 
man cl River_ and Harbor conven- 
tion, 262; of firm of S. Thomp- 
son & Co., 377, 379; death, 379 

Bayard, Dr. A. H., secretary of 
Utica convention, 13; member of 
canal committee, 162. 

Beach, S. H., of Rome, 23; on com- 
mittee to confer with Gov. Odell, 
167; calls on Gov. Odell, 169. 

Beach, Capt. — , civil engineer, 361. 

Beals, J. R., original member of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 250. 

Beals, J. VV., original member of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 250. 

Beard, William II., exhibition ot 
painting for 100th Regiment fund, 
272, 274. 

Beardsley, Josiah, contract to lease 
boat for celebration of opening of 
canal, 386-3S7. 

Becker, Philip, trustee of Buffalo 
Merchants' Exchange, 2S9; member 
of committee on grade crossings, 


Beebe, Milton E., architect of Board 
of Trade, 2S9. 

Beier, Jacob, & Son, build Board of 
Trade building, 290. 

Belgium, canals, 150. 

Bennett, David S., subscription to 
1 ooth Regiment fund, 273; on re- 
cruiting committee, 275. 

Bennett, James Gordon, 70. 

Bennett, Levi, boat master, 384 note. 

Bentley, James R.. subscription to 
106th Regiment fund, 273; presi- 
dent of Buffalo Board of Trade, 

Berestord, Lord Charles, guest of 
Buffalo Merchants' Exchange, 324. 

Bernard, Gen. — , civil engineer, 363. 

Betts, Ira, boat-builder, 3S2. 

Bidwell, Benjamin, original member 
of Buffalo Board of Trade, 250. 

Big Buffalo Creek, 238. 

Bingham, David, 79. 

Binghamton, N. Y., represented at 
State Commerce convention, 9, 13, 

Binghamton Republican, leading anti- 
canai paper, 190. 

Bird island, 3S8. 

Bissell, Amos A., of New London, 
381; removes to Lockport, 3S2; to 
Buffalo, 3S3. 

Bissell, Herbert P., canal champion, 

Bissell, Tohn, canal shipper, 383. 

Bissell & Bridgeman, 273. 

Black, Frank S., governor of New 
York, _ appoints State Commerce 
Commission, 36, 42, 44, 137, 155, 
160, 189; appoints commission to 
inquire into work on canals, 189. 

Black Rock, N. Y., strife for canal 
terminus, 238, 242, 387-38S; an- 
nexed to Buffalo, 258; interna- 
tional bridge to Fort Erie, 265; 
forwarding trade, 377-379: canal 
boats owned at, 383-384 note; in- 
vited to participate in opening of 
canal, 385-3S6; leases boat for 
opening celebration, 386-3S7. 

Black Rock Business Men's Associa- 
tion, 14. 

Blackmar, A. T., subscription to 100th 
Regiment fund, 273, 



Blackmar, Abel E., assists in drafting 
barge canal bill, 56, 58, 61; at 
hearing on bill, 63; spcsks at Ca- 
nal Association dinner, 71-72; coun- 
sel of New York Produce Exchange 
in complaint against Joint Traffic 
Association, 87, So; speaks at Syra- 
cuse convention, 164; on committee 
to solicit Gov. Odell's support for 
referendum bill, 171; attends Buf- 
falo conference, 174; Albany con- 
ference, 175; at canal hearing, 176. 

Blackwell Ship canal, 255. 

Blanchard, George R., vice-president 
Erie railroad, testimony before the 
Hepburn committee quoted, 146; 
testimony before Inter-state Com- 

■ merce Commission, 155. 

Blancon, P. C, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 250. 

Blunt, Lieut. -Col. C. £., surveys for 
canal, 132. 

Boards of Trade, earliest organiza- 
tions in the United States, 254. _ 

Boas, Emii L., member of executive 
committee for banquet to Gov. 
Roosevelt, 43; of finance and sub- 
executive committees of Canal As- 
sociation of Greater New York, 47; 
of Canal committee of Produce Ex- 
change, 93, 107 note; letter to H. 
B. Herbert, 94; treasurer of Canal 
Association of Greater New York, 

Boat builders, 3S1-3S3. 

Boat-men's Association, ^8. . 

Boats, list of canal boats «nd masters, 
383-384 note. 

Bodman, E. C, member of Canal 
committee of New York Produce 
Exchange, 107 note. 

Bogert, H. Myers, 107 note. 

"Bolivar," boat, 384 note. 

Bond, Edward A., state engineer and 
surveyor, 43, 54; member of State 
Committee on Canals, 110, 19°; 
makes surveys for barge canal, 118; 
at Buffalo conference, 172. 

Bond, HughL., attorney for Balti- 
more & Ohio system, 90. 

Bonnar, Dr. John D., speaks at Buf- 
falo convention, 29; delegate to 
Utica convention, makes address, 

Boody. David A., speaks at meeting 
of New York Produce Exchange 
Canal League, 70, 104; signs ap- 
peal to voters, 105. 

Boonville Board of Trade, 14. 

Boston, discrimination in freight rates 
to, S7; Board of Trade organized, 
254; commercial rival of New York, 

Bostwick, Charles _ P., introduces 
barge canal bill in Assembly, 61; 
speaks at meeting of New York 
Produce P'xchange Canal League, 
70, 104; at Cooper Union meeting, 

Bowring, Charles W., 107 note. 

Brace, Lester, leases boat for open- 
ing of Erie canal, 386-387. 

Brainard, J., original member of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 250. 

Brainerd, Frank, member of State 
and Executive committees, Syracuse 
convention, 17; of State committee, 
Buffalo convention, 23; of Canal 
committee of New York Produce 
Exchange, 37, 93, 107 note; of 
committee to consider route of ca- 
nal, 54; of Canal Improvement 
State committee, 68, 102, 176; let- 
ter to, from J. A. Fairlie. 90; guest 
of G. K. Clark at dinner, 98; presi- 
dent of Produce Exchange, vice- 
president, 107 note; at Albany con- 
ference, 1901, 167; on committee 
to confer with Gov. Odell, 169; 
calls on Gov. Odell, 169, 170; sup- 
ports referendum bill of 1002, 170; 
on committee to solicit aid of Gov. 
Odell, 171; to attend Republican 
state convention, 172; at Buffalo 
conference, 174;, canal champion, 
178; on commission to inquire into 
work on canals, 189. 

Brant, Joseph, 342. 

Breed, James L., of Syracuse, 382. 

Brewster, Henry C, of Rochester, 
vice-president of Syracuse conven- 
tion, 17; of Buffalo convention. 23. 

Bridge, H. P., subscription to 100th 
Regiment fund, 273. 

Bridgeman, J. W., «x Co., canal ship- 
pers, 3S3. 

Bristol, C. C, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 250. 

Broadhead, Charles C., engineer, sur- 
vey of er.stern division of Erie ca- 
nal, 335-345- 

Brockway, Charles M., boat master, 
383 note. 

Bromley, Drayton, boat master, 384 

Bronx river, 361. 

Bronx ville, N. Y., represented at 
Utica convention, 14. 

Brook held, William, on executive 
committee for banquet to Gov. 
Roosevelt, 43. 

Brooklyn, N. Y., anti-canal bureau, 
177; votes for canal appropriation, 
1S94,- iSS. 

Broome co.. N. Y., vote on barge ca- 
nal question, 192. 

Brown, H. H., of Spencerport, mem- 
ber of State committee, Syracuse 
convention, 17; Buffalo convention, 

brown, Harvey W., of Rochester, 
treasurer of Syracuse convention, 
17; member of Executive commit- 
tee, 18; treasurer of Buffalo con- 
vention, 23; member of barge ca- 
nal committee, Utica convention,. 
162, i6j. 

Brown, Ctipt. James J. II., at canal 
hearing, delegate to Utica conven- 
tion, 161; to Syracuse conventions, 
164, 167; member of canal com- 



mittee of Buffalo Merchants' Ex- 
change, 164, 166; at Buffalo con- 
ference, 172; canal champion, 178; 
guest of II. J. Smith at dinner, 
185; president of Buffalo Chamber 
of Commerce, 329. 

Brown, James W., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, .250. 

Brown, John G., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 250. 

Brown, William O., subscription to 
100th Regiment fund, 273. 

Browne, Warren C, 185. 

Brownell & Boyd, 274. 

Browns' elevator, 258. 

Brunswick and Trenton canal, 227. 

Bryant, Warren, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 250. 

Buck, R. R., 270. 

Bttcklin, E. M., of Ithaca, member of 
State committee, Buffalo convention, 
23, 169; calls on Gov. Odell, 169. 

Buffalo, N. Y., elevator facilities, 7; 
represented at Ulicc. convention, 14; 
convention, 1901, 21-33, 39» 183; 
fifth port of the world, 136; steel 
plant, 154; elevator interests op- 
pose Raymond plan, 159; hearing 
on the canal question, 1S99, 161; 
conference, 1902, 1 71-172; press 
supports barge canal project, 17S, 
191; votes for canal appropriation, 
1894, 188; canal meetings, 1816, 
212-213 note; distance to New- 
York, Montreal and i\ew Orleans, 
217; cost of transportation to New 
York, 219; streets of Buffalo, 238- 
241; strife for canal terminus, 238, 
387-388; wharves, 240-241; busi- 
ness development, 242; lake ton- 
nage, 1844, 253; harbor enlarge- 
ment, 254-255; communication with 
Pittsburg, 256; first elevators, 257, 
258; Black Rock annexed, 258; 
convention, 1892. 306; Old Home 
Week, 326; traffic, 373;3745 boat- 
building firms, canal shippers, 3S-> • 
boats owned at, 383-384 note; op r 1- 
ing of canal, 385-394. 

"Buffalo," boat, 384 note. 

Buffalo & Hornellsville Railroad, 250 

Buffalo & Washington Railroad, 2S0. 

Buffalo Board of Trade, "Historical 
Sketch," by F. II. Severance, 237- 
329; organization, 243-244; first 
building, 244-247; pioneer organi- 
zation in Great Lakes region, 254; 
brings about dredging of St. Clair 
Flats, 258-262; incorporation, 264; 
new rooms on Central Wharf, 266- 
270; annual statement of tmde 
and commerce of Buffalo, 269; 
commercial circular, 270; new by- 
laws, 270; adopts a regiment, 272- 
279; finances, 279-285; the move 
up-town, 285-295; Merchants' Ex- 
change incorporated, 289; Seneca 
street building, 289-291; canal pol- 
icy, 303-308; relations with other 
organizations, 311-324.; opposes Ni- 

agara ship canal, 312; membership 
in National Board of Trade, 314; 
new building, 190s, 325; presi- 
dents, 328; meeting on removal of 
E. EL. Walk.::: to New York, 370. 

Buffalo Business Men's Central Coun- 
cil, i 3% 

Buffalo Chamber of Commerce, "His- 
torical Sketch," by F. II. _ Sever- 
ance, 324-329; semi-centennial cele- 
bration dinner, 325-326; advocate 
of canal improvement, 326; presi- 
dents, 329. 

Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, ac- 
count of first meeting of Board of 
Trade quoted, 247; description of 
Board of Trade rooms quoted, 263: 
report of Board of Trade banquet 
cited, 268; editorial by E. II. 
Walker^ quoted, 367-370. 

Buffalo Courier, 265. 

Buffalo creek, 239, 240, 25S. 

Buffalo Creek Railway Companv, 255, 

Buffalo Daily Republic, 265. 

Buffalo Democracy, 265. 

Buffalo Evening News, strong posi- 
tion on canal question. 172, 181. 

Buffalo Express, series of articles on 
canals, 189; article by Mrs. Keller, 
cited, 245 note; article by R. W. 
Haskins, 390-392. 

Buffalo Fire & Marine Insurance 
Company, 252. 

Buffalo Gazette, quoted, 211-212 note. 

Buffalo Harbor Company, 241. 

Buffalo Historical Society, "Publica- 
tions," cited, 197 note, 211 note, 
268 note, 309 note, 349 note; meet- 
ing in 1864, 251 note; clearance 
books owned by, 383-3S4 note; ca- 
nal documents in archives, 385-394; 
receives medal commemorative of 
opening of canal, 392; proceedings 
46th annual meeting, Jan. 14, 1908, 
403-413; meetings, season 1907- 
1908, 413-414. 

Buffalo Journal, 391. 

Buffalo Merchants' Exchange, repre- 
sented at Utica convention, 13; 
proposes resolutions at Buffalo con- 
vention,^ 31; sends committee to 
New York, 50; conference with 
committee of Canal Association of 
Greater New York, 51, 54; canal 
committee appointed, 164; commit- 
tee to solicit funds, 164-165; canal 
bureau, 165-166; work 'for the 
barge canal. 1 64.-1 7S; meeting of 
canal committee, 166, 173; appoints 
committee to meet Gov. Odell, 174; 
appoints canal committee, 1S3; 
"Historical Sketch of the Mer- 
chants' Exchange," by F. H. Sever- 
ance, 289-324; incorporated, 289; 
new building, 289-291; revised by- 
laws, 293-294; rules and regula- 
tions, 295-296; work in connection 
with Pan-American Exposition, 207; 
philanthropies, 297-208; Gratuity 
fund, 298-299; work for the canals, 
305-308; grade crossings campaign, 
30S-3T0; action concerning various 



national and state bills, 318-319; 
Transportation committee, 3 1 9-320 ; 
Niagara Frontier Freight Bureau, 
320; various activities, 321-324; 
Bureau of Conventions and Indus- 
tries, 323; distinguished guests, 
323-324; name changed to Chamber 
of Commerce, 324; presidents, 328- 

Buffalo Morning Advertiser, 261 note. 

Buffalo Plains, 3S9. 

Buffalo Real Estate Association, 327. 

Buffalo Retail Merchants' Board, 327. 

Burtaio river, deepening of, 2,26. 

Buffalo Savings Bank, 251 cote. 

Buebee, Oliver, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 250; di- 
rector, 263. 

Bull, Absolum, of Black Rock, 386. 

Bull, ). B., director of Board of 
Trade, 250. 

Burgess, Edward G., president of 
New York Produce Exchange, 57, 
107 note; vice-president, 107 note. 

Burr. Prof. William H., member of 
Advisory Board cf Engineers, 63; 
statement before Joint Canal Com- 
mittee, 64. 

Burt, David, 386. 

Burton, Theodore E., quoted, 149-150. 

Burweils, 251 note. 

Bush, Myron P., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 250; in- 
corporator, 264; subscription to 
100th Regiment fund, 274. 

Busher, Ccpt. Martin, lake weighmas- 
ter, 302. 

Butler, Samuel, 278 note. 

Butler, Theodore, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 250. 

Eutterworth bill, 318. 

Cady, B. F., of Lockport, 382. 

Cady, F. L. A., of Buffalo Board of 
Trade, 283. 

Camden, N. Y v represented at Utica 
convention, 14. 

Camp, Major John G., member of 
Burtaio Harbor Company, 241; ex- 
ca\ates west end of canal, 38S-390. 

Campbell, Capt. Charles, speaks at 
Buffalo convention, 29. 

Campbell, J. D., attorney for Phila- 
delphia &: Reading R. R. Co., 90. 

Campbell, M. Robert, speaks at Coo- 
per Union meeting, 74; signs ap- 
peal to voters, 105; mentioned, 178. 

CampfTcld, A. B., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Canada, commercial rivalry, 515; en- 
largement cf canals, 3S, 371. 

Canada Creek, 201. 

Canajoharie, N._ Y., represented at 
Utica convention, 14; incident of 
early days, 342. 

Canal and Harbor Union, New York, 

Canal Association of Greater New 
York, organized, 46-47, 97; reso- 
lutions approving barge canal bill, 
4S-50; committee visits Buffalo, 51, 
54; report of committee on route 

of canal, 55; dinner to New York 
editors, 55, 70. 

Canal Boat Owners' Association of 
the State of New York, represented 
at Utica convention, 13; at canal 
meeting, New York, 1899, 4° i co- 
operates in banquet to Gov. Roose- 
velt, 42; on organization of Canal 
Association of Greater New York, 
46; in resolutions favoring barge 
canal bill, 49. 

Canal boats, list of boats and mas- 
ters, 383-384 note. 

Canal conventions. See Conventions. 

Canal Enlargement Association, Buf- 
falo, 14, 307. 

Canal Forwarders' Association, 46. 

Canal Improvement League of the 
Produce Exchange. See New York 
Produce Exchange Canal League. 

Canal Improvement State Committee, 
campaign for barge canal, 68-75, 
176-180; personnel, 102, 176. 

"Canal Improvement Union," by F. 
S. Gardner, 1-11. 

Canal locks, enlargement of, 133-134. 

"Canal Memorial of 1816," 211-233. 

"Canal Primer," issued by Commit- 
tee on Agitation, 67. 

Canal street, Buffalo, 239; fire, 258. 

Canals, of Canada, 38, 150; of Eu- 
rope, 149-151, 225-227; cost of va- 
rious canals, 225-229; era of canal 
construction, 255. 

Canals, of New York, "The United 
States Government and the New 
York State Canals," by T. W. 
Symons, 121-134; history, 1895-1903, 
157-180; Second report of the 
Western Inland Lock Navigation 
Company, 197-208; Canal Memorial 
of i8i6 % 211-233. See also Barge 
canal, Erie canal, and names of 
other canals. 

Canastota, N. Y., represented at Utica 
convention, 14. 

Canastota Business Men's Association, 

Canrield, Capt. — , 261 note. 

"Cantor bill," 318. 

Capen, T.. boat master, 384 note. 

Caprou. Oliver, boat master, 383 note. 

Carnegie, Andrew, letter to Gen. 
Greene, quoted, 45; address at ca- 
nal dinner, quoted, 52; guest of 
G. K. Clark, 98; letter to H. B. 
Herbert, quoted, 101; open letter, 
cited, 154. 

Carnegie Steel Company, at Conneaut, 

Carpenter, Col. — , employer of Can- 
vass White, 354, 355. 

Carpenter, R. P., of New Rochelie, 
vice-president of Syracuse conven- 
tion, 17. 
Carpenter. A. S., & Co., canal ship- 
pers. 383. 
Carroll, P. V., canal shipper, 3S3. 
Carroll Bros., boat builders, 383. 
Carroll street, Buffalo, 242. 
Cartoon of barge canal campaign, 186. 



Cary, Samuel, subscription to iooth 
Regiment fund, 273. 

Caryl, A. H., director of Board of 
Trade, 250, 251. 

Caryl, Benjamin, 340. 

Case, Niles, subscription to iooth 
Regiment fund, 274; on canal com- 
mittee of Buflalo Board of Trade, 

Casler, Philip W., of Little Falls, 178. 

Catlin, — , artist, emblematic picture 
of Gov. Clinton, 39<>39-- 

Caswell, H. A., of Rome, 170. 

Catskill river, tide ascends above, 215. 

Cattaraugus, N. Y., lepresented at 
Utica convention, 14. 

Cattaraugus co., N. Y., vole on barge 
canal question, 192. 

Caughnewagn, N. Y., 342, 343. 

Cawcroft, Ernest, of Jamestown, 178. 

Cayuga and Seneca canal, 26. 

Cayuga co., N. Y., voie on barge ca- 
nal question, 192. 

Cayuga lake, 204, 382. 

Central Wharf, Buffalo, 242, 291-293, 

Chadwick, Charles N.. of Brooklyn, 
member of State committee, Buf- 
falo convention. 2Z, 169; speaks at 
Buffalo convention, 28. 

Champkr'n canal, improvement recom- 
mended by State Commerce conven- 
tion, 15; bill providing for survey 
drawn, 41 ; improvement provided 
for in barge canal bill, 61-62, 130; 
estimated cost of improvement, 117- 
118; included in referendum bill 
of 1902, 170. 

Chapin, O. N., 274. 

Chapin, Theodore, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Chapin, Col. W. W., 388: 

Chard, \Y\, original member of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 251. 

Charleston, S. C, earthquake, 297. 

Chautauqua co., N. Y., pro-canal sen- 
timent, 191; vote on barge canal 
question, 192. 

Chemung canal, abandoned, 157. 

Chemung co., N. Y., vote on barge 
canal question, 192. 

Chenango canal, abandoned, 157. 

Chenango co.. N. Y., loss of popula- 
tion, 99; vote on barge canal ques- 
tion, IQ2. 

Chester, Thomas, 288. 

Chicago, commercial position in 1S16, 
218; in 1S44, 253; River and Har- 
bor convention, 1847, 262; fire, 
297; National Ship-Canal conven- 
tion, 1863, 311. 

Chicago Board of Trade, organized, 
254; subscribes toward dredging St. 
Clair Flats, 261. 

"Chili," boat, 3S4 note. 

Chippewa street, Buffalo, 23S. 

Chittenango, N. Y., survey of canal 
through, 337; boat-buiiding, 382. 

Christiana and Elk canal, 227. 

"Chrbtopher Columbus," boat, 384 

Churchyard, Joseph, 30S. 

Cincinnati Board of Trade, organized, 

"Citizen," boat, 384 note. 

Citizens' Association of Buffalo, 321. 

Citizens' Union, advocates canal im- 
provement, 70. 

"City of Buffalo," steamer, 322. 

Clapp, Almon M., secretary of Na- 
tional Ship-Canal convention, 311. 

Clapp, Otis, boat master, 383 note. 

Clark, Archibald, boat master, 383 

Clark, Charles F., 98. 

Clark, Cyrus, subscription to iooth 
Regiment fund, 27^- 

Clark, F. B., of Oswego, 175. 

Clark, Gardiner K., Jr., member of 
finance committee of Canal Asso- 
ciation of Greater New York, 47; 
gives dinner for discussion of ca- 
nal question, 51-53, 97-9S; on com- 
mittee to confer with Gov. OdelL, 
60-61; member of Canal committee- 
of Produce Exchange, 107 note; 
supports referendum bill of 1902, 
170; solicits support of Gov. Odell 
for bill, 171. 

Clark, Grosvenor, original member of 
Board of Trade, 251. 

Clark, Isaac, vice-president, Syracuse 
convention, 16. 

Clark, James A., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

CJark, Thomas, subscription to iooth 
Regiment fund, 273. 

Clark, W. A., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Clark, Capt. William C, ofConstan- 
tia, active in canal campaign, 162; 
press agent, 1S7. 

Clark & Skinner canal, 255. 

Clarke, Cyrus, 259, 260; member of 
committee on reorganization of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 282; submits 
minority report, 282-283; suggests 
appointment of weighmaster, 302; 
on canal committee of Board of 
Trade, 304; president of Board of 
Trade. 328. 

Clarke, Frederick O., of Oswego, 63', 
member of Canal Improvement 
State committee, 102, 176'. 

Clarkson, Edward M., member of Ca- 
nal committee of Produce Exchange, 
107 note; supports referendum bill 
of 1902, 170. 

Clay. Henry, tribute to Canvass 
White, 363-364. 

Cleary, William E.. 6; on executive 
committee for banquet to Gov. 
Roosevelt, 43; at canal hearing, 
189S. 160; member of barge canal 
committee, Utica convention, 162; 
speaks at hearing on 450-ton canal, 
168; supports referendum bill of 
1902, 170; on committee to present 
resolutions to Republican state con- 
vention, 173; at canal hearing, 
175; canal champion, 17S. 

Clement, Stephen M., 290. 



Cleveland, Grover, appoints canal 
commission, 139; member of Buf- 
falo Merchants' Exchange, 293. 

Cleveland, N. Y., represented at Utica 
convention, 14. 

Cleveland, O., lake tonnage, 1844, 
253; Board of Trade organized, 
254; International Deep Waterways 
Association convention, 306. 

Clinton, DeWitt. governor of New 
York, memorial to the Legislature, 
quoted, 135; drafts memorial, 211 
note; leader of Erie canal policy, 
334; meets Canvass White, 365; 
letter concerning White's discovery 
of hydraulic cement, quoted, 356; 
connection with early canal legisla- 
tion, 350; first trip through Erie 
canal, 390; emblematic picture, by 
Catlin, 390-391. 

Clinton, George, of Buffalo, president 
of Canal Improvement Union, 2; 
member of State committee, Syra- 
cuse_ convention, 17; Buffalo con- 
vention, 23 ; assists in drafting 
barge canal bill, 58, 61; at canal 
hearing, 63; speaks at Canal As- 
sociation dinner, 71 ; congratulatory 
message to II. B. Herbert, 106; se- 
cures appropriation for lengthening 
locks, 157; at canal hearing, 1898, 
160; speaks at Utica convention, 
162; at Syracuse convention, 164; 
member of canal committee of Buf- 
falo Merchants' Exchange, 164, 166, 
182; of committee to solicit funds, 
165; at Albany meeting, 1001, 166; 
delegate to Syracuse convention, 
1901, on committee to confer with 
Gov. Odell, 167; speaks at hearing 
on 450-ton canal, 168; supports ref- 
erendum bill of 1902, 170; at Buf- 
falo conference, 1902, 171; on com- 
mittee for Albany conference, dele- 
gate to Republican state convention, 
172; non-partisan policy, 174, 179; 
at Buffalo conference, on committee 
to meet Gov. Odell, 174; at Al- 
bany conference, at canal hearing, 
175; canal champion, 178, 179, iSS; 
opposition to 1 000-ton barge canal 
plan at Syracuse convention. 1S2; 
guest of il. J. Smith at dinner, 
18$; member of commission to in- 
quire into work on canals, 1S9; 
chairman of Union for the Improve- 
ment of the Canals of the State of 
New York, 305; activity in behalf 
of canals, 306, 307; president of 
Buffalo Merchants' Exchange, 329. 

Clinton, Judge George W., 391. 

Clinton, Ohio, 219. 

Clinton co.. N. Y., vote on barge ca- 
nal question, 192. 

Clothier's Association of New York, 

Clyde, N. Y., 384 note. 

Clyde river, 38. 

Coats, Giles K., secretary of Board of 
Trade, 250, 251, 302. 

Cobb, Ansel R., boat master, 384 

Cobb, Carlos, incorporator of Buffalo 
Board of Trade, 264. 

Cobb, Harvev, boat master, 384 note. 

Cobb & Co., '273. 

Cody, Joel, boat master, 384 note. 

Coffee Exchange, 42. 

Cohoes, N. Y., represented at Utica 
convention, 14. 

Cohoes Business Men's Association, 

Cohoes Falls Company, 345. 

Coit, George, last of those engaged in 
early forwarding trade, 377 and 

Coit, G. C, & Son, 273. 

Coit Slip, 255. 

Cold Spring Business Men's Associa- 
tion, Buffalo, 14. 

Cole, — , of North Bay, N. Y., boat- 
builder, 382. 

Color, Bird S., speaks at Cooper 
Union meeting, 74; signs appeal to 
voters, 105; canal champion, 17S. 

Columbia co., N. Y., loss of popula- 
tion, 99; vote on barge canal ques- 
tion, 192. 

Cominsky, Frank W., 107 note. 

"Commerce," boat, 383 note. 

Commerce, decline of, in New York, 
35-3 S, 137- 

Commercial Slip, Buffalo, 239, 240, 

Commercial street, Buffalo, 239, 241. 

Conkling, Roscoe, canal advocate, 145 ; 
letter to William Thurstone, 305 

Conneaut, Ohio, development of steel 
business, 52. 

"Connecticut," boat, 384 note. 

Connecticut river, improvement, 362. 

Constantia, N. Y., Board of Trade 



Conventions, Utica, 1885, 2; 1899, 
9-16, 39, 161-162, 182; Syracuse, 
1000, 16-21, 39, 182; 1901, 21, 183; 
Buffalo, iqoi, 21-^3, 39, 183. 

Cook, Robert H.. of Whitehall, 162. 

Coolcy, Lyman E., 98. 

Cooley, T. M., member of commission 
on railroad rates, 77, 80. 

Coolidge, Thomas S., of Glens Falls, 

Cooper Union, mass-meeting, 74. 

Corbit, Charles P., of New York. 
member of State committee, Syra- 
cuse_ convention. 17; Buffalo con- 
vention. 23. 

"Corn Planter," boat. 383 note. 

Cornell. S. G., & Co., 274. 

Cornwall Board of Trade. 13. 

Cornwell, William C. of Buffalo, 165. 

Cortland, N. Y., represented at Utica 
convention, 14. 

Cortland co., N. Y., loss of popula- 
tion, 99; vote on barge canal ques- 
tion, 192. 

Cortland co., N. Y., Board of Super- 
visors, 14. 



Corwinc, William R., member of State 
committee, Buffalo convention, 23, 
169; en committee for banquet to 
Gov. Roosevelt, 43 ; on sub-execu- 
tive committee of Canal Association 
of Greater New York, 47; visits 
Buffalo, 51; on committee to con- 
sider route of canal, S4; at canal 
hearing, 63; at Albany meeting, 
iqoi, 167; calls on Gov. Odell, 
169; supports referendum bill of 
1902, 170; on committee to solicit 
aid of Gov. Odell, 171; attends 
conference at Buffalo, 171. 

Costcllo, Thomas M., of Altmar, vice- 
president of Syracuse convention, 
17; of Buffalo convention, 23. 

Cotton Exchange, N. Y., 42; cooper- 
ates in banquet to Gov. Roosevelt, 
42; in organization of Canal Asso- 
ciation of Greater New York, 46: 
in resolutions favoring barge canal 
bill, 49; joins in "Campaign of Ed- 
ucation," 97. 

Courier and Republican, article on the 
origin of the Ene canal, 349. 

Cowing, H. O., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Coxsackie, N. Y., represented at Utica 
convention, 14. 

Coxsackie Board of Trade, 13. 

Coykendell, S. D., of Rondout, mem- 
ber of State committee, Syracuse 
convention, 17; Buffalo convention, 
23; on executive committee for ban- 
quet to Gov. Roosevelt, 43; on 
finance committee of Canal Asso- 
ciation of Greater New York, 47; 
guest cf G. K. Clark at dinner, 98. 

Crandall, Orville A., delegate to Utica 
convention, 161. 

Crane, Monroe, of New York, Prod- 
uce Exchange, 86. 

Craw & Knapp, boat buildeTS, 382. 

Credit Men's Association, Buffalo, 298. 

Crimrcins, John D., 105. 

Crittenden, Myron L., 288. 

Crocker, Leonard, boat master, 383 

Cross street, Buffalo, 239. 

Croton river, 361. 

Cummin, Joseph W., 17. 

Cummin g, C. M., attorney for Erie 
System, 90. 

Cunneen, John, secretary of Utica 
convention, 13; of Syracuse con- 
vention, 17; member of State com- 
mittee, 17; secretary of Buffalo con- 
vention, 23; member of State com- 
mittee, 23; delegate to canal con- 
ference, New York, 50; to Utica 
convention, 161; at meeting of ca- 
nal committee of Buffalo Merchants' 
Exchange, at Albany meeting, 166; 
delegate to Syracuse convention, 
1901, 167; on committee to confer 
with New York canal people, 169; 
delegate to Albany conference, 172; 
canal champion, 178. 

Curtiss, Charles G., 2S3: president 
of Buffalo Board of Trade, 314, 

328; welcomes the National Board 

of Trade, 315. 
Curtiss, Peter, 379. 
Curtiss & Root, 379. 
Cutter, A. W., subscription to 100th 

Regiment fund, 273. 
Cutting, R. Fulton, 105. 

Daggett, Hollis, boat master, 384 note. 

Dale, John G., 79. 

Dana, George S., of Utica, vice-presi- 
dent of Ltica convention, 23. 

Dandy, Col. George B., colonel of the 
100th Regiment, 276; address be- 
fore the Board of Trade, quoted, 
277; made his regiment best in the 
Department of Virginia, 279. 

Daniels, George H., opposition to ca- 
nals, 146. 

Dare, Fred V., of New York Produce 
Exchange, 86; member of board of 
managers, J07 note. 

Darrison, John T., of Lockport, vice- 
president of Syracuse convention, 
17; of Buffalo convention, 22. 

Dart, Joseph, Jr., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251; 
builds first elevator, 257, 25S, 374. 

Davidson, VV. C, 274. 

Davis, George, director of Buffalo 
Board of Trade, 250, 251. 

Davis, George A., introduces in Sen- 
ate bill fur enlargement of canal 
locks. 53; bill defeated, 54. 98; 
introduces barge canal bill, 61; 
calls on Gov. Odell, supports refer- 
endum bill of 1902, 1-0, 171; at 
Buffalo conference, 172. 

Davis, Gherardi, at banquet to Gov. 
Roosevelt, 43- 

"Davis-Bostwick bill," provisions of, 

Daw, Alfred D., secretary of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 302. 

Daw, Henry, original member of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 250, 251; sub- 
scription to 100th Regiment fund, 
274; president of Board of Trade, 

Day, Harry B., of New \ork Produce 
Exchange, 84, 86. 

Day, Thomas, gift of building lots 
tor 100th Regiment fund, 272, 274. 

Dean, Benjamin S., of Jamestown, 

Deasey, Timothy, of Little Falls, 17; 
vice-president of Buffalo conven- 
tion, 22. 

Deep Waterways Commission, report 
quoted, 122-123. 

De Forest. R. W., attorney for Cen- 
tral R. R. of N. L, qo. 

Delahunt, Edward, & Co., 383. 

Delaware and Chesapeake canal, 228. 

Delaware and Raritan canal, 363. 

Delaware co., N. Y., vote on barge 
canal question, 192. 

Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 
Railroad improvements, 66; tracks 
in Buffalo, 240. 



De Lone;, Tames, original member of 
Buffalo Board of 'Irade, 251. 

Demming, C, original member of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 251. 

Democratic Party, platform pledging 
canal improvement, 56, 173. 

Depew, Chauncey M., at banquet to 
Gov. Roosevelt, 43 ; remark on 
freight rates, 145; speech at EI- 
inira, quoted, 146, 147. 

Depopulation of various countkb of 
New York, 99-100. 

Derrick, S. W., 273. 

Deshler, Tohn G., 260; subscription 
to 100th Regiment fund, 273; on 
recruiting committee, 275. 

Detroit, Mich., commercial position, 
1S16, 218; lake tonnage, 1844, 253; 
Board of Trade organized, 254; Ni- 
agara Ship Canal convention, 312. 

"Detroit," boat, 384 note. 

Deutber, George A., original member 
of Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

DeW'altearrs, S., on executive com- 
mittee for banquet to Gov. Roose- 
velt, 43. 

DeWitt, Jerome, of Binghamton, mem- 
ber of State committee, Syracuse 
convention, 17; Buffalo convention, 


"De Witt Clinton," boat, 383 note. 

Dexter, Seymour, of Elmira, vice- 
president of Buffalo convention, 22. 

Dickinson, Charles, of Lockport, 17c, 

Dickson, William. 273. 

Diehl, Conrad, mayor of Buffalo, mem- 
ber of State and Executive commit- 
tees, Syracuse convention, 17; dele- 
gate to Utica convention, member 
of Canal committee. 162. 

Differential rates. Action of _ New- 
York Produce Exchange relative to, 
77-93; report of Advisory Commis- 
sion on, 81. 

Diven, J. M., of Elmira, vice-presi- 
dent of Syracuse convention, 17. 

Dobbins. Capt. D. P., 252; on canal 
committee of Buffalo Board of 
Trade, 304. 

Dodge, Col. — , 355. 

Dodge, Leonard, congratulatory mes- 
sage to H. B. Hebert, 105; canal 
champion, 178; guest of II. L. 
Smith at dinner, 185; president of 
Buffalo Merchants' Exchange, 324, 

Dodge, William E.. chairman of ban- 
quet to Gov. Roosevelt, address 
cited, 43-44; guest of G. K. Clark 
at dinner, 98. 

Dold, Jacob, 309. 

Doran, Michael, of Durhamville, 382. 

Dorr Capt. Ebenezer P., 252, 280; 
delegate to meetings of National 
Board of Trade, and American 
Cheap Transportation Association. 
316; president of Buffalo Board of 
Trade, 328. 

Dorrity, Thomas, speaks at Buffalo 
convention, 29. 

Douglas, C. N., of Albany, 170. 
Douglas, Herbert H., of Oneida, vice- 
president of Syracuse convention, 

17 • 
Dcuglas, William H., member of Ca- 
nal committee of Produce Exchange, 
107 note. 
Downey, Robert, of Oswego, 175. 
Dows, Meech & Carey, 393. 
Doyle, Tames, 107 note. 
i Doyle, Nathaniel, 107 note. 
I Doyle, Peter C., president of Buffalo 

Merchants' Exchange, 329. 
; Drake, Marcus M., member of State 
committee, Syracuse convention, 17 ; 
Buffalo convention, 23; speaks at 
Buffalo convention, 28; delegate to 
Utica convention, member of canal 
I committee, 162; delegate to Syra- 
cuse conventions, 164, 167; sup- 
| ports referendum bill of 1902, 170; 
at Buffalo conference, 1902, 171; 
delegate to Albany conference, 172; 
canal champion, 178, 306. 
Dresser, D. LeRoy, vice-president of 
Buffalo convention, 22; guest of 
j G K. Clark, 98; delegate to Re- 
publican state convention, 172. 
I Dtidley, Thomas J., original member 
of Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 
"Dunkirk," boat, 384 note. 
Du Puy, Capt. — , of New York, 160. 
Durarrt, Edward A., of Albany, vice- 
president of Buffalo convention, 22. 
Durfee, Philo, commission merchant, 
243; director of Buffalo Board of 
Trade, 250, 251; president of Board 
of Trade, 328. 
j Durhamville, N. Y., boat-building 
! town, 3S2. 

I Dutchess co., N. Y., vote on barge ca- 
J nal question, 192. 

Eames, John C, member of finance 
committee of Canal Association of 
Greater New York, 47; delegate to 
Syracuse convention, 164. 

Eames, M. R., 274. 

Easton, Fred, of Albany, 170. 

Eckley, D., Jr. original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Ecklev. Joseph S., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, _ 251. 

Eckley, William II. E., original mem- 
ber of Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

"Eclipse," boat, 384 note. 

Eddy, Thomas, agent of Western In- 
land Lock Navigation Company, 

Edes, A. B., boat builder, 3S3. 

Edson, Franklin, of New York, vice- 
president of Syracuse convention, 
17; of Buffalo convention, 22; 
member of committee of New York 
Produce Exchange, 79; of Canal 
committee, 93, 107 note; at canal 
hearing, _ 189S, 160; member of 
commission to inquire into work on 
canals, 189. 

Efner, Elijah D., Original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 



Elevators, charges, 78-79; first eleva- 
tors in Buffalo, 257, 258. 

Ellesmere canal, 226. 

Ellicott, Joseph, 238. 

Ellison, 2s". B., of Rochester Trans- 
portation Co., 382. 

Ellsworth, Timothy E., effective sup- 
port of barge canal survey bill, 163, 

Elm street, Buffalo, 238. 

Elmira Advertiser, leading anti-canal 
paper, 190. 

Elmwood avenue, Buffalo, 327. 

Ely, W. Caryl, 326. 

"Emigrant," boat, 383 note. 

Einslie, Peter, 30S. 

England, canals, 226-227. 

Enos, Laurens, 273. 

Ensign, Charles, subscription to 100th 
Regiment fund, 272, 274. 

"Envoy," boat. 384 note. 

Erie, Pa., ordnance from naval sta- 
tion used in canal opening celebra- 
tion, 392-393- 

Erie basin, 255. 

Erie Boatmen's Transportation Co., 6. 

Erie canal, improvement recommended 
by State Commerce convention, 15; 
unable to compete with railroads, 
36, 37; improvement plan of 1895, 
37; depth of fourteen feet advo- 
cated by New York Produce Ex- 
change, 38; bill providing for sur- 
vey drawn by F. S. Gardner, 41; 
provisions or Davis-Bostwick bill, 
61-62; improvement urged by Prod- 
uce Exchange, 95; improvement act 
of 1895, 121; bill in Congress for 
widening locks, 125; contribution 
to the wealth of _ New York, 136; 
various routes discussed, 220-224; 
estimated cost, 228-229; enlarge- 
ment, 255; work of Buffalo Board 
of Trade and Merchants' Exchange 
in behalf of, 303-308; "Reminis- 
cences of Surveys in 1S16-17," by 
W. C. Young, 331-347; "Secret 
History of Incipient Legislation, 
349-35 1 J Canvass White's services 
as engineer of canal, 3 55-359; route 
of canal, 357; E. II. Walker's work 
for canal, 367-372; "Recollections 
of the Early Forwarding Trade, 
by L. F. Alien, 3/7-379; 'Notes on 
the Canal Forwarding Trade," by 
L. Porter Smith, 381-384; memen- 
toes of opening of the canal. 3S5- 
394; narrative of beginning of con- 
struction, by William Hodge, 387- 
390; gun-telegraph, at opening cele- 
bration, 392-394. 

Erie co., N. Y., vote on barge canal 
question, 116, 192. 

Erie, Lake, commerce, 217; elevation 
above Lake Ontario. 223; above 
tide waters of Hudson, 224; sup- 
position that water of Lake Erie 
would flow to Albany, 339. 

Erie Railroad, improvements, 66; 
rates lowered by canal influences, 

Erie street, Buffalo, 238. 

Essex co., N. Y., loss of population, 

99; vote on barge canal question, 

Evans, A. M., of Herkimer, 178. 
Evans, Charles W., original member 

of Buffalo Board of Trade, 251; 

subscription to 100th Regiment 

fund, 274. 
Evans, Edwin T., 272; member of 

building committee of Buffalo Board 

of Trade, 288. 
Evans, James C, original member of 

Buffalo Board of Trade, 250, 231; 

member of committee for improving 

St. Clair Flats, 260; incorporator 

of Board of Trade, 264; steamer 

excursion for benefit of 100th Regi- 
ment fund, 272. 
Evans, J. C, & E. T., subscription to 

100th Regiment fund, 274. 
Evans, John B., original member of 

Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 
Evans & Dunbar's elevator, 258. 
Evans Slip, 255. 
Evarts, William M., canal advocate, 

"Exchange," boat, 383 note. 

Fairchild, Ben L, counsel for Com- 
merce Commission, 189. 

Fairlie, John A., at dinner to Gov, 
Roosevelt, 43; secretary of State 
Committee on Canals, 190. 

Fairoaks, battle of, 271. 

Falley, — , mayor of St. Louis, 311. 

Fargo, William G., 264; estate, 286. 

"Farmer," boat, 384 note. 

Farmington canal, 362. 

Farr, Rinaldo, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Farrelly, Patrick, 6. 

Farrington, W. C., 171. 

Fassett, Theodore S., member of State 
committee, Syracuse convention, 17; 
Buffalo convention, 23, 169; dele- 
gate to canal conference. New York, 
50; to Utica convention, 161; on 
committee to confer with New York 
canal people, calls on Gov. Odell, 
169, 170; supports referendum bill 
of 1902, 170; on committee to so- 
licit support of Gov. Odell, 171; 
delegate to Albany conference, 172; 
on committee to meet Gov. Odell, 
174; at Albany conference, 175; 
canal champion, 178; represents 
Buffalo Merchants' Exchange at 
Democratic state convention, 184. 

Favill, Josiah M., member of Canal 
committee of Produce Exchange, 
107 note. 

Ferris. Peter J., subscription to 100th 
Regiment fund, 273; vice-president 
of Merchants' and Manufacturers' 
Building Association, 288. 

Fetterolf, A. C, of New York Prod- 
uce Exchange, 107 note. 

Field. Cyrus W., 277 note. 

Filkins, George, canal shipper, 383. 



Filkins, Stanley E., of Medina, vice- 
president of Buffalo convention, 22; 

speaks at convention, 28; supports 
referendum bill of 1902, 170; dele- 
gate to Republican state convention, 
172, 173; canal champion, 178. 

Fillmore, Millard, 251 note; at Buf- 
falo Board of Trade banquet, 267, 
268 and note: remarks at opening 
of Board of Trade rooms cited, 293 

Fillmores, 251 note. 

Fink, Albert, quoted, 146. 

Finlay, Samuel L., 107 note. 

Finn, Albert, of_ Lockport, 382. 

Finn, Sidney, of Lockport, 382. 

Fish, Hamilton, Sr. t canal advocate, 


Fish, Henry L., mayor of Rochester, 
382; president of Boat-men's Asso- 
ciation, 3S3, 

Fish, Robert J., of Oneida, vice-presi- 
dent of Buffalo convention. 23. 

Fish, Silas H., president of Buffalo 
Board of Trade, 328. 

Fish & Armstrong, 274. 

Fish & Avery, 274. 

Fisher, John V,'., member of Canal 
Improvement State committee, 102, 

Fisher, William A., attorney tor Bal- 
timore Chamber of Commerce, 90. 

Fish's elevator, 25S. 

Fiske, Frank W.. 314. 

Fiske, William, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Flagg, Samuel D., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 231. 

Fleeharty, J., original member of the 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Fleming, William, director of Buffalo 
Board of Trade, 263. 

Flower, Roswell P., governor of New 
York, 319, 3-21- 

Folwell, Mrs. Sarah Heywood, 250 

F"olwe!l, William \V., of Minneapolis, 
230 note. 

Ford, Ansel, boat master, 383 note. 

Ford, John, at banquet to Gov, Roose- 
velt, 43. 

Forestport. N. Y., 142. 152, 153, 154. 

Forestry Bureau, established in Buf- 
falo, 322. 

Forman, Joshua, 334. 

Fort Erie, international bridge, 265. 

Fort Herkimer, 203. 

Fort Plain, N. Y., 14. 

Fort Newport, 202. 

Fort Schuyler, N. Y., Canal of West- 
ern Inland Lock Company, 197-20S. 

Forward, Oliver, member of Buffalo 
Harbor Company, 241. 

Forwarding trade, recollections of, by 
L. F. Allen, 377-379; notes on, by 
L. Porter Smith, 381-384. 

Fosbinder, Harris, delegate to Syra- 
cuse conventions, 164, 167; mem- 
ber of canal committee of Buffalo 
Merchants' Exchange, 166; trustee 
of Gratuity fund, 299. 

Foster, Wm. C, & Co., 273. 

Fowler, Anderson, member of finance 
committee of Canal Association, of 
Greater New York, 47; of New 
York Produce Exchange committee 
on railroad rates, 79; guest of G. 
K. Clark at dinner, 98. 

Fox, Watson A., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251; pro- 
poses stock company for dredging 
St. Clair Flats, 259; chairman of 
committee on improving Flats, 259; 
vice-president of Board of Trade, 


Foy, Robert T., 232. 

Fox, Winthrop, 292. 

France, canals and railroads, 149. 
Frankfort, N. Y., represented at Utica 
convention, 14; canal-boat building, 

Frankfort Board of Trade, 14. 

Franklin, P. A. S., of New York- 
Produce Exchange, 107 note. 

Franklin co., N. Y., vote on barge 
canal auestion, 192. 

Eraser, Maj. Donald, of Black Rock, 

Freer, William IT., of Troy, vice- 
president of Syracuse convention, 
17: of Buffalo convention, 23. 

Freight rates, unjust discrimination, 
27; action of _ New York Produce 
Exchange relative to, 77-92; ''The 
Function of New York's Barge Ca- 
nals in Controlling Freight Rates," 
by T. D. Kernan, 135-156; ocean, 
lake, railroad and canal rates com- 
pared, 143-144. 

Freight steamers, cost of construction 
and operation, 95-96. 138. 

French, George A., original member 
of Buffalo Board of Trade, 25i._ 

French, Henry C, trustee of Gratuity 
Fund, 299. 

French, S. O., boat master, 384 note. 

Frink, H. A., 273. 

Front street, Buffalo, 239-241, 242. 

Fuller, George A., of Watertown, 
vice-president of Buffalo conven- 
tion, 23. 

Fulton co., N. Y., vote on barge canal 
question, 192. 

"Function of New York's Barge Ca- 
nals in Controlling Freight Rates," 
by J. D. Kernan, 135-156. 

Gallatin, Albert. "Report on roads 
and canals," cited, 223, 227, 228. 

Gamble, Hamilton R., governor of 
Missouri, 311. 

"Ganges," boat, 3S3 note. 

Gardner, Frank S.. "The Cana! Im- 
provement Union," i-n; secretary 
of Canal Improvement Union, 2; 
secretary of Utica convention, 9, 
12, 13; of Syracuse convention, 
member of State committee, 17; of 
Executive ^committee, 18; secretary 
of New York Board of Trade and 
Transportation, 21; of Buffalo con- 
vention, 23, 169; member of State 



committee, 23; drafts bill providing 
for survey of canals, 41; at ban- 
quet to Gov. Roosevelt, 43; mem- 
ber of sub-executive committee of 
Canal Association of Greater New 
York, 47, 51; member of committee 
to consider route of canal, 54; 
secretary of Canal Association of 
Greater New York, 97; organizes 
State Commerce convention, 161; 
member of barge canal committee, 
162; organizes Syracuse convention, 
164; at Albany meeting, 1901, 167; 
calls on Gov. Odell, 169; supports 
referendum bill of 1902, 170; at- 
tends conference at Buffalo, 171; 
Republican state convention, 172: 
at Albany conference, 175; canal 
champion, 178. 

Gardner, John \Y\, 274- 

Garfield, James A., memorial service, 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 293. 

Garrett, H., original member of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 251. 

Garrett, John W., president of Balti- 
more & Ohio Railroad, So. 

Gates, Justin, boat master, 384 note. 

Geddes, James, engineer, 333, 346, 

Gclston, S. F., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Genesee co., N. Y., vote on barge ca- 
nal question, 192. 

Genesee river, aqueduct, 229. 

Genesee street, Buffalo, 238. 

Genesee valley canal, abandoned, 157. 

German Flats, N. Y., 203, 207, 208. 

Germany, canals and railroads, 149. 

Gilpin, Joshua, quoted, 22S. 

Gibson, C. D., 263. 

Gilbert, Edwin, subscription to 100th 
Regiment fund, 273. 

Gilson, George D., at canal hearing, 
1899, delegate to Utica convention, 

Glens Falls feeder, 357. 

Gloucester Point. Va., presentation of 
flag to 100th Regiment, 276. 

Golden Ace, 370. 

Gorman, Charles A., of Medina, vice- 
president of Syracuse convention, 

Gould, Thomas R., member of Con- 
gress, 3^34- 

Gowen, rrancis 1., attorney for .Le- 
high Valley R. R. Co., 90. 

Grade Crossings Commission of Buf- 
falo, 30S-310. 

Grady, Thomas F., speaks at Cooper 
Union meeting. 74; supports barge 
canal survey bill, 163, 180; canal 
champion, 17S. 

G. A. R. Encampment, Buffalo, 1897, 

Grand Island, bridge to, 322. 

Grand Junction canal, 226. 

"Granite Block," Buffalo, bought by 
Board of Trade, 325. 

Gratwick, William li., president of 
Buffalo Chamber of Commerce, 326, 

I Graves, Delos, canal shipper, 383. 
J Graves, John C, president of Buffalo 
Merchants' Exchange, 3_'8. 

Gray, D. F., original member of Buf- 
I falo Board of Trade, 251. 
j Great Lakes, commerce, 217-218. 
I Green, Andrew H., at dinner to Gov. 
i Roosevelt, 43 ;_ member of Com- 
| merce Commission, 160, 189. 
j Green, Ashbel, attorney for West 
Shore R. R. Co., 90. 

Green, Douglas N., of Syracuse, 17. 

Green, E. b., of Cohoes, 162. 

Green, George E., member of State 
Committee on Canals, 1 10, 160, 190; 
canal champion, 178, 191. 

Green, James VY\, of Gloversville, 
vice-president of Syracuse conven- 
tion, 17; of Buffalo convention, 22. 

Green & Wicks, architects, 325. 

Greene, Gen. Francis V., chairman of 
State Committee on Canals, 5, 39, 
160, 190, 307; speaks at canal meet- 
ing, New York, 1899, 4 1 ? present 
at banquet to Gov. Roosevelt, 43; 
address cited, 45; speaks at Canal 
Association dinner, 70-71; confer- 
ence with New York Produce Ex- 
change, 93-94; guest of G. K. Clark 
at dinner, 98; "Inception of the 
Barge Canal Project," 109-120; 
member of barge canal committee, 
Utica convention, 162; canal cham- 
pion, 178. 
j Greene, George C, attorney for L. 
j S. & M. S. Ry. Co., 90. 
j Greene, William H., 280. 

Greene Commission. See New York 
1 state, Committee on Canals. 
I Greene co., N. Y., loss of population, 
100; vote on barge canal question, 

Greenman, J. L., canal shipper, 383. 

Gregory, j. H., of Kingston, 17, 162. 

Gridley, A. G., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Griffin, A. L., subscription to 100th 
Regiment fund, 273; canal shipper, 

Griffin, F. B., of Clinton, 17S. 

Griffin, John B., director of Buffalo 
Board of Trade, 263; delegate to 
meeting of American Cheap Trans- 
portation Association, 316. 

Griffin & McDonald, 273. 

Griffin, John M., original member of 
Buffalo Beard of Trade, 251. 

Griffiths, of Troy, 3 78. 

Grot?. Aug. R., subscription to 100th 
Regiment fund, 273. 

Gruber, Abraham, 178. 

Guilford, Simon, letter to C. B. 
Stuart, concerning Canvass White, 
quoted, 35S-359; engineer of middle 
division of Union canal, 360. 

Gun-telegraph, at opening of canal, 

Gurley, William F., of Troy, 17. 

Guthrie, S. Sturges, subscription to 
100th Regiment fund. 273; on ca- 
nal committee of Buffalo Board of 



Trade, 304; president of Board, 
328, 370. 

Hadfield, Robert, 304. 

Hagemeycr, Frank E., member of 
Produce Exchange canal committee, 
107 note; supports referendum bill, 

Hagemeyer & Brunn, letter to IT. B. 
Hebert, concerning differential rates, 

Hager, John F., canal shipper, 383. 

Haines, Alfred, member of State com- 
mittee, Buffalo convention, 23, 169; 
member of canal committee of Buf- 
falo Merchants' Exchange, 50, 164, 
166; of legislative committee, 63; 
at canal hearing. 1899, 161; im- 
portant work for barge canal, 165; 
at Albany meeting. 1.901, 166; dele- 
gate to Syracuse convention, 167; 
on committee to confer with New 
York people, cails_ on Gov. Odell, 
169; supports referendum bill _ of 
1902, 170; on committee to solicit 
aid of Gov. Odell, 171; at Buffalo 
conference, 1902, 171, 174; dele- 
gate to Albany conference, to Re- 
publican state convention. 172; on 
commit L^t to meet Gov. Odell, 174; 
at Albany conference. 173; raises 
funds for canal campaign, 179 5 
president of Buffalo Merchants' Ex- 
change, 329. 

Hall, A. M., of Oswego, vice-presi- 
dent of Syracuse convention, 17; 
of Buffalo convention, 2^. 

Hall, Gordon W., speaks at Buffalo 
convention, 29; at canal hearing. 
1899, 161; supports referendum bill 
of 1902, 170; at Buffalo conference, j 
1902, 171; delegate to Republican j 
state convention, 173; canal cham- 
pion, 17S. 

Hall, Nathan K., at Buffalo Board of 
Trade banquet, 267. 

Hamilton, William, of New York 
Produce Exchange, 107 note. 

Hamilton co., N. Y., vote on barge 
canal question, 192. 

Hanna, Mark, guest of Buffalo Mer- 
chants' Exchange. 324. 

Hanover street, Buffalo, 239; site of 
first "Merchants' Exchange," 244- 

Hare, T. Montgomery, on executive 
committee for banquet to Gov. 
Roosevelt, 43. 

Harmon, Justin, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Harrison, James C., 273. 

Harrison, fenas, member of Buffalo 
Harbor Company, 241. 

Hart. Ithel, boat master, 3S4 note. 

Harvey, Alexander \V., 274. 

Haskell, W. M., of Glens Falls, 17. 

Haskins, R. W., "A Lost Work of 
Art," article in the Buffalo Express, 

Hatch's elevator, 258. 

Hawes, S. \V., original member of 
falo Board of Trade, 251. 


Hawley, Jesse, essays regarding the 
origin of the Erie canal, cited, 349 

Hawley, Merwin S., original member 
of Buffalo Board qf Trade, 251; 
president, 263, 328; subscription to 
100th Regiment fund, 274. 

Hay and btraw Dealers' Association, 

Hayden, Albert, director of Board of 
lrade, 250, 251. 

Hayes, Edward, secretary of Boat- 
men's Association, 383. 

Hayward, E., original member of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 251. 

Hayward, H. C., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Hazard. George S., president of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 259, 264, 267, 
276, 32S, 374; appoints committee 
on improvement of St. Clair Flats, 
260; treasurer of improvement fund, 
261; speech at Board of Trade 
banquet, quoted, 267-268; member 
of committee on inspection of grain, 
270; subscription to loolh Regi- 
ment fund, . y 7s; on recruiting com- 
mittee, 275; welcomes regiment 
home, -77; letter to Major Otis, 
cited, 27S; speaks at opening of 
new building, 291; unique service 
as president of Board of Trade, 
300; death, 300 note; delegate^ to 
National Ship-Canal convention, 
311; address at St. Louis, quoted, 
3 1 1-3 12; delegate to International 
Commercial convention, Baltimore, 
313-3 14; at meeting of Dominion 
Board of Trade, Ottawa, 3.14; speaks 
at National Board of Trade meet- 
ing, 315-316; appreciation of E. H. 
Walker, 370; tribute to, by G. A. 
Stringer, 373-375- 

Hazeltine, Leonard, 79. 

Heacock. Seth G., of Ilion, member 
of State committee, Syracuse con- 
vention, 17; Buffalo convention, 
2^\ member _ 01 Canal committee, 
Utica convention, 162. 

Heath, E., of Rochester Transporta- 
tion Co., 382. 

Heath, Morse & Co., canal shippers, 

Hebert, Henry B., of New York, 
member of State committee, Syra- 
cuse convention, 17: of Executive 
committee, 18; of State committee, 
Buffalo convention, 23, 169; chair- 
man of canal meeting, New York, 
1899, 40; on executive committee 
for banquet to Gov. Roosevelt, 43; 
on sub-executive committee of Ca- 
nal Association of Greater New 
York, 47; visits Buffalo, 51; on 
committee to confer with Gov. 
Odell, 60; treasurer of Canal Im- 
provement State committee, 68; 
speaks at meeting of New York 
Produce Exchange Canal League, 



70, 104; presides at Canal Asso- 
ciation dinner, 70; "Action of the 
New York Produce Exchange rela- 
tive to railroad differentials and 
canal enlargement," 77-108; chair- 
man of committee to confer with 
Joint Traffic Association, 84, 86; 
letter to, from Hayemeycr & Brunn, 
concerning differential rates, 88; 
letter to, from Oelrichs & Co., 88- 
89; chairman of Canal committee 
of Produce Exchange, 93, 107 note, 
183; conference with State Canal 
Committee, 94; president of Canal 
Association of Greater New York, 
97; guest of G. K. Clark at din- 
ner, 98; letter to, from Gov. Odell, 
99; letter to, from Andrew Car- 
negie, quoted, 101; treasurer of 
Canal Improvement State Commit- 
tee, 102; signs appeal to voters, 
105; messages of congratulation on 
success of referendum measure, 105- 
106; calls on Gov. Odell, 169, 170; 
supports referendum bill of 1902, 
170; on committee to prevent reso- 
lutions to Republican state conven- 
tion, 173; at Albany conference, 
175; member of Canal Improve- 
ment State 'Committee, 176; canal 
champion, 178. 

Heckman, G. A., 43. 

Hedstrom, Eric L., trustee of Buf- 
falo Merchants' Exchange, 2^9; 
speaks at opening of new building, 
291; president of Merchants' Ex- 
change, 295, 328. 

Hefford, Robert R., member of Canal 
Improvement State Committee, 102; 
at canal hearing, 1899, delegate to 
Utica convention, 161; to Syracuse 
convention, 167; supports referen- 
dum bill of 1902, 170; on commit- 
tee for Albany conference, delegate 
to Republican state convention, 172, 
173; at Buffalo conference, 174; at 
Albany conference, 175; member 
of Canal Improvement State Com- 
mittee, 176; canal champion, 178, 
188, 306, 307; chairman of Cham- 
ber of Commerce building commit- 
tee, 326; president of Buffalo Mer- 
chants' Exchange, 329. 

Heimlich, G. J., 273. 

Henderson, John J., 260; secretary 
of St. Clair Flats convention, 261 ; 
secretary of Buffalo Board of Trade, 
265, 302; annual statement of trade 
and commerce of Buffalo, 26;, 269. 

Hengerer, William, trustee of Buffalo 
Merchants' Exchange, 289. 

Hentz, Henry, on executive commit- 
tee for banquet to Gov. Roosevelt, 
43; on finance committee of Canal 
Association of Greater New York, 
47; signs appeal to votcrs,_ 105. 

Hep-burn, A. B., on executive com- 
mittee for banquet to Gov. Roose- 
velt, 43; on finance committee of 
Canal Association of Greater New 
York, 47; remarks at meeting of 

New York Chamber of Commerce, 
quoted, 65-67; guest of G. K. Clark 
at dinner, 98. 

"Hercules," steamboat. 257. 

Herkimer, Gen. Nicholas, home, 341. 

Herkimer, N. Y., represented at Utica 
convention, 14. 

Herkimer Board of Trade, 14. 

Herkimer co., N. Y., vote on barge 
canal question, 192. 

Hewitt, Abram S., canal advocate, 

Hewson, Archibald K., boat master, 
383 note. 

Heywood, Daniel, 250 note. 

Heywood, Russell H., merchant of 
Buffalo, 242-243; president of Board 
of Trade, 244, 250, 251, 263, 300, 
328; office in Board of Trade build- 
ing, 346; address at first Board of 
Trade meeting, 247-249, 257; bio- 
graphical sketch, 249-251 note; di- 
rector of Buffalo Fire & Marine 
Insurance Company, 252; incorpor- 
ator of Board of Trade, 264. 

Hibbard, George B., 268; legal coun- 
sel for Buffalo Board of Trade, 
2S1 ; responds to toast, 315. 

Hickox, Charles R., 79. 

Higgins, A. Foster, 189. 

Higgins, C, boat master, 3S3 note. 

Higgins, Frank, 180. 

Higgins, Joseph W., chairman of As- 
sembly committee on canals, 58. 

Hill, — , of Chicago, president of St. 
Clair Flats convention, 261. 

Hill, David B., governor of New 
York, signs bill establishing state 
naval militia, 318. 

Hill, Henry W., introduces bill pro- 
viding for survey of canals, 41; at 
banquet to Gov. Roosevelt, 43; ad- 
dress cited, 45; recognition of 
work by New York Produce Ex- 
change, 46; speaks at Canal Asso- 
ciation dinner. 73-74; "Historical 
Review of Waterways and Canal 
Construction in New York State," 
cited, 135 note, 197 note; quoted, 
211 note; struggle for canals in 
constitutional convention, T5S, 179; 
at canal hearing, 1898, 160; 1899, 
161; delegate to Utica convention, 
makes address, 162; leads fight for 
passage of large canal survey bill, 
163 ; delegate to Syracuse conven- 
tion, 164; at Albany meeting, 1901, 
167; calls on Gov. Odell, 170; sup- 
ports referendum bill of 1902, 170, 
171; at Buffalo conference, 172, 
174; at Albany conference, at ca- 
nal hearing, 17.5; canal champion, 
178; guest of H. J. Smith at din- 
ner, 1S5; quotation from Lincoln's 
"Constitutional History of New 
York," concerning. 1S9. 

Hills, Addison, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Hitchcock, C. L., 3S7. 

Hitchcock, Chester, original member 
of Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 




Hitchcox, James, boat master, 384 

Hoar, George S., .123. 

Hoar, Samuel, attorney for Boston & 
Albany R. R. Co., 90. 

Hoar, Sherman, attorney for Boston 
Chamber of Commerce, 90. 

Hodge, William, account of begin- 
ning of canal construction, 387- 
390; death, 387 note. 

Hoffman, John T., governor of New 
York, message quoted, 367-368. 

Hogan, Charles W., 107 note. 

Holbrook, Ora L., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 231. 

Hclderman, Christopher, delegate to 
Utica convention, 162. 

"Holland Purchase," boat, 384 note. 

Holley, Samuel J., subscription to 
100th Regiment fund, 273; on re- 
cruiting committee, 275; president 
of Buffalo Board of Trade, 328. 

Holley & Johnson's elevator, 258. 

Hoi lister, Tames, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

HolH-ster, Robert, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Hollister, William, original member 
of Buffalo Board of 'irade, 251. 

Hollister's elevator, 258. 

Holstein canal, 226. 

Holt, A. J., 273- 

Holt, George W\, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251; clerk 
of Tohn Scott, 202. 

Holt,' William, 3S8. 

Holt, Palmer & Co., 242. 

Home Insurance Co., 6. 

Homer, Adam, boat builder, 383. 

Hooker, Azel, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Hoosac tunnel, 371. 

Hopkins, John, engineer, 363. 

Hornidge, Win. H., speaks at Cooper 
Union meeting, 74. 

Horton, A. W., contribution to 100th 
Regiment fund. 273; canal shipper, 

Hosack, Dr. David, letter tu, from 
Benjamin Wright, quoted, 35S. 

Hosley, Frank, of Chittenango, 3S2. 

Howard. Hiram E., original member 
of Buffalo Board of Trade, 251; 
subscription to 100th Regiment 
fund, 274; president of Board of 
Trade, 32S. 

Howard, R. L., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Howell, David J., of Washington, 176. 

Howell, Stephen W., original member 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251; sub- 
scription to 100th Regiment fund, 
273; on recruiting committee. 275. 

Hoxie, John C, member of State com- 
mittee, Syracuse convention, 17: of 
Executive committee, 18; of State 
committee, Buffalo convention, 23; 
of Barge Canal committee, Utica 
convention, 162. 

Hubbard, I. M., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Hudson, John T., 280. 

Hudson river, advantages for naviga- 
tion, 215; importance to state, 216; 
forwarding business on, 378. 

Hughes, Charles E., governor of New 
York, guest at Buffalo Chamber of 
Commerce dinner, 326. 

Humphrey, Correl, secretary of Syra- 
cuse convention, 17; of Buffalo con- 
vention, 22- 
J Humphrey, Richard, of Black Rock, 
member of State and Executive 
committees, Syracuse convention, 17; 
of State committee, Buffalo^ conven- 
tion, 23; delegate to Utica con- 
vention, 162; at meeting of canal 
committee of Buffalo Merchants' 
Exchange, 166; delegate to Repub- 
lican state convention, 173. 

Hunt, Horace, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Hunt, S. B., original member of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 251. 

Hunter, Dexter, of Albany. 170. 

Huntington, S. V. V., of New York, 
vice-president of Syracuse conven- 
tion, 17; of Buffalo convention, 22. 
I Hutchinson, • J. M., original member 
of Buffalo Board of Irade, 251. 

Ilion, N. Y., represented at Utica 
convention, 14. 

Ilion Board of Trade, 14. 

Illinois, iron and steel industry, 102. 

Indian.i, iron and steel industry, 102. 

International Commercial convention, 
Baltimore, 1871, 313-314. 

International Deep Waterways Asso- 
ciation, 306. 

Iron industry, 101-102. 

Irons, Stephen, of New London, 381. 

Irwin, D. \Y., 273. 

Italian Chamber of Commerce, New 
York City, 46; joins in resolutions 
favoring barge canal bill, 50. 

Ithaca, N. Y., boat-building, 382. 

Ives, John M., of Rochester, 177. 

Jacus, W. C, & Co., canal shippers, 

James, Alonzo R., president of Buf- 
falo Merchants' Exchange, 329. 

James, Darwin R., on executive com- 
mittee for banquet to Gov. Roose- 
velt, 43; on commission to inquire 
into work on canals, 1S9. 

Janvier, F. II., attorney for Lehigh 
Valley R. R. Co.. 90. 

Jefferson cc, N. Y., vote on barge 
canal question, 192. 

Jerome, William, engineer, 357. 

"Jerry," boat, 384 note. 

Jervis, John B., 335; distinguished 
engineer, 346. 

Jewell, John V., member of Canal 
committee of Produce Exchange, 
107 note. 

Jewett, Elam R., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Jewett, H. J., president of New York, 
Lake Erie & Western Railroad, 80. 



Jewett, John L., subscription to 100th 
Regiment fund, 274. 

Jewett, Sherman S., original member 
of Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Jewett, Thomas, & Co., 253. 

Johnson, A. W., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Johnson, Ebenezer, member of Buf- 
falo Harbor Company, 241; of firm 
of Johnson & Wilkeson, 378. 

Johnson, Col. Guy, 341, 34-2< 343- 

Johnson, Hiram, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Johnson, Sir John, 341, 342, 343- 

Johnson, Sir William, 340, 341, 342, 

Johnson & Wilkeson, 378, 379. 

Johnstone, A. M., 273. 

Johnstown, IV, flood, 297. 

Joint Traffic Association, decision of 
Interstate Commerce Commission in 
case against, quoted, 73; organiza- 
tion, conference with committee of 
New York Produce Exchange, 84- 
86; complaint of Produce Exchange 
against, 87; hearings and report of 
Interstate Commerce Commission, 

Jones., Henry R., 283. 

Jones, Miles, original member of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 251. 

Jones, Orsino E., 01 Jamestown, 178. 

Jordon river, 338. 

Joslin, Joel, boat master, 384 note. 

Joslyn, John, of Buffalo, 178; asso- 
ciate editor of Evening News, 185. 

Journal of Comtnercc, New York, fa- 
vors canal improvement, 151. 

Toy, Thaddeus, 378, 386. 

Joy, Walter, original member of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 250, 251; vice- 
president of Boatmen's Association, 


Joy & Webster, 292, 378. 
oy, Lewis B., & Co., 273. 

Keep, Charles H., at canal hearing, 
1899, 161; delegate to Syracuse 
convention, 164; member of canal 
committee of Buffalo Merchants' 
Exchange, 165, 166; secretary of 
Merchants' Exchange, 302. 

Keller, Mrs. Mary E., "Buffalo Sixty 
Years Ago," cited, 245 note; quoted, 

Kelley, IT., original member of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 251. 

Kelley, Hugh, of New York, member 
of Commerce Commission, 160, 189. 

Kennedy, Charles F., of Buffalo, 164. 

Kennedy, Thomas P., of Amsterdam, 
vice-president of Buffalo conven- 
_ tion, 22. 

Kennet and Avon canal, 226. 

Kernan, John D., president of Utica 
convention, 1899, 9, 13; of Syra- 
cuse convention, 1900, 16, 182; j 
chairman of State _ committee, and 
of- Executive committee, 17; presi- 
dent of Buffalo convention, 22; I 

chairman of State committee, 23, 
169; speaks at banquet to Gov. 
Rooseveit, 46; member of State 
Commerce Commission, 47; counsel 
for Produce Exchange in complaint 
against Joint Traffic Association, 
87, 89; "The Function of New 
York's Barge Canals in Controlling 
Freight Rates," 135-156; prominent 
canal advocate, 135 note; speaks at 
Utica convention, 162; calls com- 
mittee meeting in New York, 162; 
conference with Gov. Roosevelt, 
163; speaks at Syracuse convention, 
164, 167; attends meeting at Al- 
bany, 1901, 166; calls on Gov. 
Odell, 169; supports referendum 
bill of 1902, 170; appoints commit- 
tee to attend Republican state con- 
vention. 172; canal advocate. 178. 

Kerr, John P.., attorney for N. Y., 
O. & W. R. R. Co., 90. 

Kessinger, A. R., of Rome, member 
of State committee, Syracuse con- 
vention, 17; of Executive commit- 
tee, 18; of State committee. Buf- 
falo convention, 23; at Albany 
meeiing, 1901, 167; supports refer- 
endum bill of 1902, 170. 

Ketchum, William-, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Kibbee, G., 27,1 note. 

Kibbee, W. K., of Albany, 170. 

Kimberly, Tohn L., 243; director of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 250, 251; 
member of firm of S. Thompson & 
Co., 377. 379; death, 379 note. 

Kimberly, Pease & Co., 243. 

King, R. S., 274. 

King, William F., speaks at meeting 
of New York Produce Exchange 
Canal League, 70; at Cooper Union 
meeting, 74; signs appeal to voters, 
105; at canal hearing, 176. 

Kingman, Major Dan C., member of 
Advisory Board of Engineers, 63. 

Kings co., N. Y., vote on barge ca- 
nal question, 116, 192. 

Kingsbury, Edward II., of Little Falls. 


Kingston Board of Trade, 14. 

Kinkel, Albert, of New York, vice- 
president of Buffalo convention, 22; 
chairman of New York Produce Ex- 
change Canal League, 69, 104: let- 
ter to, from George B. McClellan, 

Kinne, H. M., director of Buffalo 
Board of Trade, 250, 251, 263. 

Kinne & Co., subscription to 100th 
Regiment fund, 273. 

Knapp, Lyman, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 251. 

Kneeland, Yale, 107 note. 

Knowles, George W., of Lyons, vice- 
president of Syracuse convention, 
17; of Buffalo convention, 22. 

Kolff, Cornelius G., vice-president of 
Syracuse convention, 17; of Buffalo 
convention, 22. 




Lake Carriers' Association, 317. 
Lake Mohonk Conference, 317. 

Lake Weigh masters, 302-303. 

Langdon, Andrew, address on "Bronze 
Work in Art and History," 307-402; 
address as president Buffalo Histor- 
ical Society, 190S, 403-406; donor 
of bronze candelabra, 307. 

Langdon, Edwin, president Central 
National Bank, 47. 

Languedoc canal, 225. 

Laughlin, John, of Buffalo, 164; at 
Albany meeting, 1901, 166; dele- 
gate to Syracuse convention, on 
committee to confer with Gov. 
Odell, 167; speaks at hearing on 
450- ton canal, 16S; calls on Gov. 
Odell, 169, 170; supports referen- 
dum bill of 1902, 170; at Buffalo 
conference, 1902, 171; delegate to 
Albany conference, to Republican 
state convention, 172, 184; presents 
resolutions of canal people, 173; at 
Buffalo conference, on committee to 
meet Gov. Odell, 174; at canal 
hearing, 175; canal champion, 178. 

Lautz, Frederick CM., of Buffalo, 
vice-president of Syracuse conven- 
tion, 17; of Buffalo convention, 22; 
delegate to Syracuse convention, 

Laverack, William, original member 
of Buffalo Board of Trade, 252. 

"Lawrence," boat, 383 note. 

Lawton, Albert W., of Auburn, vice- 
president of Syracuse convention, 
16; of Buffalo convention, 22. 

Leavitt, James S., bookbindery, 245 
note, 252. 

Leavitt, Sarah, 246 note. 

Leaycraft, T. Edgar, 6. 

Le Boeuf, Pa., 218. 

Lee, Cyrus P., 290. 

Lee, Frank, 273. 

Lee, John R., treasurer of Board of 
Trade, 250, 252; incorporator, 264. 

Lee, Oliver, original member of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 252. 

Lee & Scofield, 273. 

Leeds and Liverpool canal, 226. 

Lehigh canal, 362-363. 

Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company, 

Letchworth, Ogden P., vice-president 
of Buffalo convention, 22; makes 
address of welcome, 28; president 
of Buffalo Merchants' Exchange, 
166, 329; canal champion, 178. 

Lewis, E. A., original member of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 252. 

Lewis, Thomas D., of Fulton, member 
of State committee, Syracuse con- 
vention, 17; Buffalo convention, 
2 ^; calls on Gov. Odell, 170. 

Lewis co., N. Y., loss of population, 
100; vote on barge canal question, 

Lewiston, N. Y., surveys for canal to 
Schlosser's, 131; carrying trade, 

I Lincoln, Abraham, appoints engineer 
to report on canal improvement, 

J Lincoln, George Z.. "Constitutional 
History of the State of New York," 
quoted, i£q. 

Linn, Capt. J. B., speech on presenta- 
tion of flag to 1 ooth Regiment, 276; 
reply to Col. Dandy, 277. 

Liquor r>ealers' Association, 69. 

Little, Charles B., 107 note. 

Little Falls, N. Y., represented at 
Utica convention, 14; portage, 198, 
200; clearing of river, 203; canal 
locks, 207, 225; toils, 208; beauty 
of gorge, 341. 

Livermore, E. R., member of commit- 
tees of New York Produce Ex- 
change, 79. 

Livingston co., N. Y., loss of popu- 
lation, 100; vote on barge canal 
question, 192. 

Lockport, N. Y., 346; boat-building, 
382-383 ; gun fired at opening of 
canal, 393. 

Lockport Business Men's Association, 

Locks, enlargement of, 133-144. 

Loeser, Vincent, on executive com- 
mittte for banquet to Gov. Roose- 
velt, 43; member of Board of Man- 
agers of Produce Exchange, 107 

Losan, James A., attorney for C. & 
O. Ry. Co., 90. 

"Logan," boat, 384 note. 

Loomis, Frank, attorney for N. Y. 
C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 90. 

Lothridge, Nelson, & Co., canal ship- 
pers, 383. 

Love, Thomas C, 386. 

Lovering, William, Jr., original mem- 
ber of Buffalo Board of Trade, 252. 

Losv, Seth, mayor of New York, ad- 
dress at Produce Exchange, 57; at 
Produce Exchange Canal League, 
70; sign? appeal to voters, 105. 

Lumber Trade Association, New York. 
13; cooperates in banquet to Gov. 
Roosevelt, 42. 

Lutt, Jonathan, boat master, 383 note. 

Lux, Charles A., of Clyde, 23. 

Lyon, James S-, 314. 

McCarroll, William, speaks at Buffalo 
convention, 28; signs appeal to 
voters, 105. 

McCausland, John, vice-president of 
Buffalo convention, 22; makes ad- 
dress, 29; proposes resolution, 31- 

McClellan, George B., letter to Albert 
Kinkel, 104; signs appeal to voters, 

McClure, David, speaks at Utica con- 
vention, 162. 

McConnell. William P., tour of state 
in interest of canals, 4, 19; man- 
ages "cart-tail campaign," 74, 178; 
at canal hearing, 1898^ 160; organ- 
izes State Commerce convention. 



161; member of barge canal com- 
mittee, i 62; assists in struggle for 
barge canal purvey bill, 1O3; or- 
ganizes Syracuse convention, 164; 
at Albany meeting, 1901, 167; mem- 
ber of State committee, Buffalo 
convention, 169; supports referen- 
dum bill of 1902, 170; on commit- 
tee to solicit aid of Gov. Odcll, 171; 
ch impion cf canal cause, 178. 

McCord, Henry IX, president of New 
York Produce Exchange, 84, 107 

McDougal, Elliott C, president of 
Buffalo Chamber of Commerce, 329. 

McEchron, William, 189. 

McEvoy, P. H., of Little Falls, vice- 
president of Syracuse convention, 

McGee, Henry A., on executive com- 
mittee for banquet to Gov. Roose- 
velt, 43. 

McGowan, Archibald C, 3S1. 

McGuire, Frank I., 107 note. 

McGuire, Horace, of Rochester, vice- 
president of Syracuse convention, 

McGuire, Thomas J., 105. 

Mclntyre, T. A., of New York Prod- 
uce Exchange, 79; member of Ca- 
rial committee of Exchange, 93, 107 1 


Mackinac, lake tonnage, 1844, 253. 

McKinley, William, monument in Buf- 
falo, 323. 

McKnight, A. II. , on executive com- 
mittee for banquet to Gov. Roose- 
velt, 43. 

McKnight, F. A., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 252. 

McMahon, V. B., member of board 
of managers of Produce Exchange, 
107 note. 

McMurrich, J. B., of Oswego, 175. 

Macomb, Capt. — , survey of St. Clair 
Flats, 261 note. 

McPherson, John R., 323. 

McW'illiams, John J., 171; on com- 
mittee for Albany conference, 172; 
president of Buffalo Merchants' Ex- 
change, 329. 

Madison co., N. Y., loss of popula- 
tion, 100; vote on barge canal 
question, 192; discovery of hydrau- 
lic cement, 345, 356. 

Mahany, Rowland B., introduces ca- 
nal bill in Congress, 159. 

Mahr, Julius J)., on executive com- 
mittee for banquet to Gov. Roose- 
velt, 43- 

Main, Henry C, of Rochester, vice- 
president of Buffalo convention, 23; 
makes address, 2S; calls on Gov. 
Odell, 169. 

Main & Hamburg canal, 254-255. 

Main street, Buffalo, 238, 239. 

Malcolm, G., subscription to 100th 
Regiment fund, 273. 

Manchester ship canal, 150. 

Manhattan Island, commerce, 7. 

Mann, Charles J., subscription to 
100th Regiment fund, 273; on re- 
cruiting committee, 275; on canal 
committee of Buffalo Board of 
Trade, 304; president of Board, 

Manning, John B., 2S6; active in or- 
ganization of Merchants' and Manu- 
facturers' Building Association, 287- 
288; trustee of Buffalo Merchants' 
Exchange, 289; on executive com- 
mittee for National Board of Trade 
meeting, 314; delegate to Washing- 
ton meeting, 310; president of 
Board of Trade, 328. 

Manufacturers' Association of New 
York, 13; proposes resolution at 
Buffalo convention, 32-33: cooper- 
ates in banquet to Gov. Roosevelt, 
42; in organization of Canal Asso- 
ciation of Greater New York, 46; 
in resolutions favoring barge canal 
bill, 49. 

Marcellus, Charles, of New London, 

Marine hospital, Buffalo, 323. 

Maritime Association of the Port of 
New York, represented at Utica 
convention, 13: at canal meeting, 
New York, 1899, 40; at conference, 
1900, 41; cooperates in banquet to 
Gov. Roosevelt, 42; in organization 
of Canal Association of Greater 
New York, 46; in resolutions fa- 
voring barge canal bill, 49; with- 
draws from Canal Association, 51. 

Market House, Buffalo, 258. 

Marks, Marcus M., speaks at Buffalo 
convention, 28. 

Marples, S. S., of New York Produce 
Exchange, 84, 86. 

Marsh, Phincas S., original member 
of Buffalo Board of Trade, 252; on 
canal committee, 304; on executive 
committee for National Board of 
Trade meeting, 314; delegate to 
meeting of American Cheap Trans- 
portation Association, 316; presi- 
dent of Board of Trade, 328. 

Marshall, Henry, of Brooklyn, 46. 

Martin, James M„ member of Canal 
committee of Produce Exchange, 

Martin, John, boat master, 384 note. 

"Mary," boat, 3S4 note. 

Mason, F. Howard, of Buffalo, 171; 
canal champion, 17S; secretary of 
Merchants' Exchange, 302. 

Mason, James, leases boat for open- 
ing of Erie canal, 386-387. 
Massachusetts, iron and steel indus- 
try. 102. 

Massey, John G., attorney for C. & 
O. Ry. Co., 90. 

Matthews, J. M., & Co., subscription 
to 100th Regiment fund, 273. 

Maumee, first cargo of wheat from, 

Mead, S. Christy, on executive com- 
mittee for banquet to Gov. Roose- 
velt, 43; on sub-executive commit- 


tee of Canal Association of Greater 
New York, 47; on committee to 
consider route of canal, 54.; at Al- 
bany meeting, 1901, on committee 
to confer with Gov. Odell, 167, 171; 
attends conference at Buffalo, 171. 

Meade, Major-Cot. George G., 27S 

Meadows, William, trustee of Buffalo 
Merchants' Exchange, 289. 

Meech, Asa B., 378, 379 and note, 

Meech. Samuel L., original member 
of Buffalo Board of Trade, 252. 

Memorial of 1816, 211-233. 

Memphis, Tenn., 297. 

Mercantile Exchange, New York, co- 
operates in banquet to Gov. Roose- 
velt, 42; in organization of Canal 
Association of Greater New York, 
46; in resolutions favoring barge 
canal bill, 49. 

"Merchant," steamer, 272. 

Merchants' & Manufacturers' Board 
of Trade, New York, represented at 
Utica convention, 13; at canal 
meeting, New York, 1899, 40; co- 
operates in banquet to Gov. Roose- 
velt, 42. 

Merchants' & Manufacturers' Build- 
ing Association, 2S6-288. 

Merchants' Association of Catskill, 13. 

Merchants' Association of New York, 
represented at canal meeting, 1899. 
40; at conference, 1900, 415 coop- 
erates in banquet to Gov. Roosevelt, 
42; in organization of Canal As- 
sociation of Greater New York, 46; 
in resolutions favoring barge canal 
bill, 49. 

''Merchants Line" of canal boats, 378. 

Middlesex canal, 228. 

Mifllin, Samuel, president of Union 
Canal Company, 359. 

Miles, Charles, boat master, 384 note. 

Miller, A. D. A., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 252. 

Miller, II. W., of Utica, 162. 

Miller, Henry B., subscription to 
100th Regiment fund, 273. 

Miller, Nathan L., N. Y. state comp- 
troller, 136. 

Milmine, George, member of 
committee ot New York Produce 
Exchange, 93, 107 note. 

Milwaukee Board of Trade, 261. 

Mississippi river, navigation, 218-220; 
system of transportation, 369. 

Mitcbel, O. M., of New York Produce 
Exchange, 84, 86. 

Mitchell, James H., of Cohoes, mem- 
ber of State and Executive commit- 
tees, Syracuse convention, 17; of 
State committee, Buffalo convention, 

Mixer, Knowlton, of Buffalo, vice- 
president of Syracuse convention. 
17; supports referendum bill of 
1902, 170. 

Mixer & Smith, 273. 

Mohawk river, 38; on route of barge 
canal, 61; early surveys, 197, 199; 
first canal to Wood Creek, 201-203; 
improvement of river, 206-207; sur- 
vey of canal, 339. 

Mohawk valley, 340-342. 

Monroe, N. Y., represented at Utica 
convention, 14. 

Monroe co., N. Y., vote on barge ca- 
nal question, 116, 192. 

Monroe co., N. Y., Board of Super- 
visors, 14. 

Monteith, William, 274. 

Montezuma, N. Y., 305, 339. 

"Montezuma," boat, 383 note. 

Montgomery, Robert, 274. 

Montgomery co., N. Y., vote on barge 
canal question, 192. 

Montreal, importance of seaport, 38; 
commercial rival of New York, 217- 
220, 222, 371. 

Moore, George A., original member 
of Buffalo Board of Trade, 252. 

Morgan, G. H., of Lockport, 170. 

Morgan, Samuel, director of Buffalo 
Board of Trade, 263; earlier of 
Frankfort, 381. 

Morison, George S., at canal hearing, 
member of Advisory Board of En- 
gineers, 63; remarks at hearing, 
quoted, 64. 

Morrill, Justin S., 323. 

Morrison, E. S., at canal hearing, 

Morse, C. H., 273. 

Ivlorse, John H., of Fort Edward, 
vice-president of Syracuse conven- 
tion, 17. 

Morse S: Nelson, 273. 

Morse Telegraph Co., 246. 

Morton, Dr. — , of Hartford, Conn., 
251 note. 

Morton, Levi P., governor of New 
\ork, commission appointed by, 23, 
32; signs $9,000,000 bill, 306". 

Mott, John T., of Oswego, member of 
State committee, Syracuse conven- 
tion, 17; Buffalo convention, 23; 
at Albany meeting, 1901, 167. 

Munger, H. C, of Herkimer, member 
of State committee, Syracuse con- 
vention, 17; Buffalo convention, 23. 

Murray, E. F., of Troy, 162, 163. 

Murray, Thomas, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 252. 

Myers, Christopher, boat builder, ^82. 

Myers, John R., of Rouse's Point, 
member of State committee, Syra- 
cuse convention, 17; Buffalo con- 
vention, 23. 

Myers, P. J,, boat builder, 382. 

Myres, I., original member of Buffalo 
Board of Trade, 252. 

"N. \V. Haverly," boat, 384 note. 

"Napoleon," boat, 383 note. 

Nash, W. A., member of finance com- 
mittee of Canal Association of 
^Greater New York, 47. 

Nassau co., N. Y., vote on barge ca- 
nal question, 192. 



National Board of Trade, organized, 
254; meeting at Buffalo, 314-316; 
meeting at Washington, 316. 

National Council of Commerce, 317. 

National Ship-Canal convention, Chi- 
cago, 1863, 311. 

National Wholesale Lumber Dealers' 
Association, ,19. 

Nelson, Absolom, 304. 

Nelson, Stewart G., member of finance 
committee of Canal Association of 
Greater New York, 47. 

"New Haven," boat, 384 note. 

New Jersey, iron and steel industry, 

New London, N. Y., canal-boat build- 
ing, 38 1; large business, 382. 

New Orleans, commercial rival of 
New York, 217-220, 225; Board of 
Trade organized, 254- 

New Rochelie Board of Trade, 14. 

New York Board of Fire Underwrit- 
ers, 42. 

New York Board of Marine Under- 
writers, 42. 

New York Board of Trade and Trans- 
portation, canal work of, 1-11; calls 
state convention, 18S5, 2; resolu- 
tions sent to Gov. Roosevelt, 5, 39; 
calls State Commerce convention, 
1899, 6-9, 12, 39; 1901, 21-22; pro- 
poses resolutions, at. Buffalo conven- 
tion, 32; represented at canal meet- 
ing, New York, 1S99, 40; at con- 
ference, 1900, 41; cooperates in 
banquet to Gov. Roosevelt, 42; in 
organization of Canal Association 
of Greater New York, 46; in reso- 
lutions favoring barge canal bill, 49. 

New York Central & Hudson River 
Railroad, increase of mileage, 66: 
elevator charges, 78; competitor of 
canal, 374. 

New York Chamber of Commerce, or- 
ganized, 254- 

New York city, "New York's City's 
Part in the Reconstruction of the 
State's Waterways.''" by G. II. 
Schwab, 35-75; decline of com- 
merce, 35-36; railroads discrimin- 
ate against, 77-83; elevators, 78; 
second port of the world, 136; press 
supports barge canal project, 178; 
votes for canal appropriation, 1894, 
188; commercial rivalry, 217-220, 
371; water supply, 361. 

New York city. Board of Aldermen, 
repositions favoring barge canal, 69. 

New York co., vote on barge canal 
question, 116, 192. 

New York Furniture Warehousemen's 
Association. 14. 

New York Herald, not favorable to 
barge canal, 70, 74; cited, 151. 

New York Lumber Trade Association, 

New York Manufacturers' Associa- 
tion, 40. 

New York Produce Exchange, 13; 
resolutions advocating fourteen-foot 
canal, quoted, 37-38; meeting to 

consider canal improvement, 1899, 
40; i9 n o, 41; banquet to Got. 
Roosevelt, 42-46; dinner to New 
York editors, 55; resolutions, Oct., 
1992, 57; decision in case against 
Joint Traffic Association, quoted. 
73; "Action of the New York Prod- 
uce Exchange relative to Railroad 
Differentials and Canal Enlarge- 
ment," by II. B. Hebert, 77-108; 
complaint against Joint Traffic As- 
sociation, 86-02; conference of Ca- 
nal committee with State Canal, 
committee, 93"94; committee on ca- 
nals, presidents, board of managers, 
1896^904, 107 note; E. H. Walker 
appointed statistician, 370; extracts 
from reports, 371-372. 

New York Produce Exchange Canal 
League, organized, 69-70; work for 
canal improvement, 104; meeting 
of canal committee, 173. 

New York Retail Grocers' Union, 13. 

New York state, population. 99-100: 
commerce, 101; iron and steel in- 
dustry, 102; memorial of citizens 
in favor of a canal, 1816, 211-233. 

New York state, Advisory Board of 
Consulti>ig Engineers, personnel, 63- 

New York state, Assembly, bill pro- 
viding for survey of canals intro- 
duced by H. W. Hill, 41; barge 
canal bill introduced by C. F. Bost- 
wick, 61; $26,000,000 bill defeated, 
168; referendum bill of 1902 de- 
feated, 170-171; bill of 1903 passed, 

New York state, Cor/,merce commis- 
sion, 1S08, report, cited, 36, 137. 
161; guests at New York "Produce- 
Exchange banquet, 42; obligations 
of citizens to, 44; personnel, 160. 
189; hearing at Buffalo, 161. 

New York state, Com»\ittee on Ca- 
nals, 1899-1900, appointed, 5, 20, 
39, 10S, 130, 137, 160, 181, 190, 
307; at canal meeting. New York, 
1899, 40, 41; guests at New York 
P'roduce Exchance banquet, 42-46; 
report quoted, 48-49, 111-119; con- 
ference with Canal committee of 
Produce Exchange, 93 94; person- 
nel of committee, 109-110, 160, 190; 
work of committee, 1 10-120, 130: 
recommends enlargement of Eric- 
canal, 13S; makes report, 161. 

New York state, Constitutional Con- 
vention, 1894, 158. 

New York state, Legislature, canal 
legislation, 3; Davis Canal bill de- 
feated. 53-54; barge canal survey 
bill passed, 163. 

New York state, Senate, barge canal 
bill introduced by G. A. Davis, 61; 
passes referendum bill of 1902, 170; 
passes barge canal bill, 1903, 176. 

New York state. State Engineer and 
Surveyor, estimate of cost of barge 
canal, 166, 176. 




New York State Canned Goods Pack- 
ers' Association, 13. 

New York State Chamber of Com- 
merce, report of committee on di- 
version of trade from New York, 
quoted, 35; represented at canal 
meeting, New \ ork, 1899, 40; co- 
operates in banquet to Gov. Roose- 
velt, 42; resolution advocating barge 
canal bill, 65. 

New York State Hardware Jobbers' 
Association, 13. 

"New York State Canals from 1895 
to 1903," by G. H. Raymond, 157- 

New York Sun, opposes baige canal, 
70, 74, 177, 178, if) 1. 

New York Tax Reform Association, 
I3> proposes resolutions at Buffalo 
convention, 30. 

New York Telegram, refuses to pub- 
lish letter favoring canal improve- 
ment, 74. 

New York Times, Berlin correspon- 
dent, quoted, 149-150; attitude on 
the canal question, 188; E. H. 
Walker, contributor, 370. 

New York Tribune, quoted, 2-3. 

Newbould, Frederick W., original 
member of Buffalo Board of Trade, 

Newcomb, Edward P., of Whitehall, 
member of State committee, Syra- 
cuse convention, 17; Buffalo con- 
vention, 23. 

Newman, John, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 252. 

Newman, W. H. II., 316. 

Newport News, discrimination in 
freight rates, to, 87. 

Niagara, lake tonnage, 1844, 253. 

"Niagara," packet, 384 note; leased 
for celebration of opening of canal, 

Niagara co., N. Y., vote on barge ca- 
nal question, 192; meeting of citi- 
zens, 181 6, 21 1-2 1 2 note; petition 
to the Legislature, 212-213 note. 

Niagara Falls, projects for ship ca- 
nal, 131-133. 3II-3I3; f° r locks, 
212 note; portage, 218, 377; elec- 
tric power conveyed to Buffalo, 322. 

Niagara river, proposed canal through, 

Niles. Hiram, 260; incorporator of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 264; presi- 
dent, 328. 

Niles, H., & Co., 274. 

Nims & Gibson, 273. 

Nine Million Dollar Canal Act, 3 ; 
bill signed by Gov. Morton, 306. 

Nissen, Ludwig, member of commit- 
tee of New York Board of Trade 
and Transportation, 6; of State 
and Executive committees, Syracuse 
convention, 17; of State committee, 
Buffalo convention, 23, 169; dele- 
gate to Republican state convention, 

Nixon t> Lewis, speaks at Buffalo con- 
vention, 29; proposition to enlarge 

locks without enlarging canal prism, 
53; speaks at meeting of New York 

Produce Exchange Canal League, 
70; at Canal Association dinner, 72; 
guest of G. K. Clark at dinner, 98; 
signs appeal to voters, 105. 

Nixon, S. Fred,, speaker of the As- 
sembly, 43; opposition to barge ca- 
nal survey bill, 163. 

Nobie, Alfred, member of Advisory 
Board of Engineers, 64. 

Nolton, II. G., trustee of Buffalo 
Merchants' Exchange, 289. 

Norfolk, Va., discrimination in rail- 

road rates to, 87, 

Norris, E. B. 

the State Grange, 

North Side Board of Trade, New 
York, 49. 

North Bay, N. Y., boat-building, 382. 

North Tonawanda, N. Y., represented 
at Utica convention, 14. 

Norton, Ebenezer F., member of Buf- 
falo Harbor Company, 241. 

Norwich, N. Y., 383 note. 

Nottingham, Edward, of Syracuse, 17. 

Noye, John T., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 252; in- 
corporator, 264. 

Noye, Richard K., 291. 

Noyes, Dr. Josiah, 354. 

Oakes, Frank S., of Cattaraugus, 
member of State committee, Syra- 
cuse convention, 17; Buffalo con- 
vention, 23; member of canal com- 
mittee, Utica convention, 162; ca- 
nal champion, 178. 

O'Brien, T, J., attorney for Grand 
Rapids & Indiana R. R. Co., 90. 

Odell, Benjamin B., Jr., governor of 
New York, 48 ; guest of G. K. 
Clark at dinner, 52, 97-98; message 
of 1902, 53, 169; conference with 
committee of Canal Association, 60; 
letter to H. "B. Hebert, 99; ap- 
points Advisory Board of Consult- 
ing Engineers, 130; address at Buf- 
falo, cited, 140, 147, 148; favors 
Seymour plan, 166; opposed by- 
Buffalo Merchants' Exchange, 167; 
speaks before Buffalo Merchants' 
Exchange, 169; resolutions of Mer- 
chants' Exchange submitted to him, 
170; favors Lake Ontario route, 
174; conference with canal friends. 
174; quoted by J. I. Piatt as op- 
posed to canal legislation, 175; de- 
nies statement, 176; signs barge 
canal bill, 176; message of 1901, 
reelected governor, 184; guest of 
Buffalo Merchants' Exchange, 324. 

Oelrichs & Company, letter to H. B. 
Hebert concerning differential rates, 

Ohio, iron and steel industry, 102; 
canal construction, 256. 

"Ohio," boat, 3S4 note. 

Ohio basin, 255, 321. 

Olcott, N. Y., canal through, consid- 
ered, 172, 174. 



Old Home Week, Buffalo. 1907, 326. 

O'Malley, Edward O., of Buffalo, i(>>'; 
supports referendum bill vi 19021 
170; at Buffalo conference, 17^; 
at canal hearing, 176; canal cham- 
pion, 178. 

One hundredth Regiment, New York 
volunteers, adopted by the Buffalo 
Board of Trade, 272-279. 

Oneida, N. Y., represented at Utic:a 
convention, 14; on route of Eric 
canal survey, 337. 

Oneida Chamber of Commerce, 14. 

Oneida co., N. Y., vote on barge ca- 
nal question, 192; prominent citi- 
zens, 334-335- 

Oneida co., N. Y., Board of Super- 
visors, 14. 

Oneida Historical Society, 364. 

Oneida lake, on route of barge canal, 
61; canal to Mohawk river, 201- 
202; to Cayuga lake, 204-205; boat- 
building, 382. 

Oneida river, on route of barge ca- 
nal, 61. 

Oneida-Seneca route, favored by Ca- 
nal Association, 55. 

"Ontario," packet, 384 note. 

Onondaga co., N. Y., vote on barge 
canal question, ri6, 192. 

Onondaga lake, 337. 

Onondaga river, 205. 

Ontario co. ? N. Y., vote on barge ca- 
nal question, 193. 

Ontario, Lake, canal to Lake Oneida, 
205; navigation dangerous, 222; fall 
from Lake Erie, 223. 

"Ontario route," opposed by Canal 

Association, 55; favored by Gov. 
Odeil, 174; objections to, 221-224. 

Orange co., N. \., vote on barge ca- 
nal question, 193. 

Order of Acorns, advocates canal im- 
provement, 70. 

Oriskany, battle of, 341. 

Oriskany Falls, N. Y., represented at 
Utica convention, 14. 

Orleans co., N. Y., loss of population, 
100; vote on barge canal question, 


Ormiston, Thomas_YY\, of New York, 
vice-president of Syracuse conven- 
tion, 17; of Buffalo convention, 22. 

0:r, E. A., of New York Produce 
Exchange, 79. 

Orr, Fred M., of Troy, 23. 

Oswego, N. Y., represented at Utica 
convention, 14; lake tonnage, 1844. 
253; opposes plan of improving St. 
Clair Flats, 261. 

Oswego Board of Trade, 13, 254. 

Oswego canal, improvement recom- 
mended by State Commerce conven- 
tion, 15; bill providing for survey 
drawn, 41; improvement provided 
for in barge canal bill, 61-62, 130; 
estimated cost of improvement, 117- 
118; not included in referendum 
bill of 1902, 170. 

Oswego co., N. Y., loss of population, 

igo; vote on barge canal question, 

Oswego Lumbermen's Exchange, 14. 
Oswego river, difficulty of navigation, 

224; boat-builders from, 382. 
Otis, Major C. N., letter to, from 

G. S. Hazard, 278. 
Otsego co., N. Y., loss of population, 

100; vote on barge canal question, 

Ottawa, Ontario, meeting of Dominion 

Board of Trade, 314. 
Owasco lake, 337. 

Paige, Nathaniel, of New London, 

Paint, Oil and Varnish Club, New 
York, 13; joins in resolutions fa- 
voring barge canal bill, 50. 

Palfrey, Capt. Carl F., engineer, 132. 

Palmer, George, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 252; in- 
corporator, 264; estate of, 280. 

Palmer, Rufus C, 243; original mem- 
ber of Buffalo Board of Irade,_ 252; 
subscription to 100th Regiment 
fund, 273. 

Palmer, Stephen, host master, 383 

Pan-American Exposition, 297. 

Paris Hill, N. Y., 249 note. 

Parke, FentOn M., secretary of Buf- 
falo Chamber of Commerce, 302. 

Parker, Forrest H., president of Prod- 
uce Exchange Bank, 47; appoints 
committee on freight rates, 79. 

Parker, James F., of New York Prod- 
uce Exchange, 84, 86; member of 
board of managers, 107 note. 

Parker, Jason, vice-president of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 262,; incor- 
porator, 264; member of committee 
on inspection of grain, 270; sub- 
scription to 100th Regiment fund, 
273; president of Buffalo Board of 
Trade, 328. 

Pair, Benjamin, 107 note. 

Parsons, P. L., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 252. 

Parsons, William H., president of 
Board of Trade and Transportation, 
6; report of Syracuse convention, 

Partridge, John N., at banquet to 
Gov. Roosevelt, 43; member of State 
Committee on Canals, no, 190. 

Patchin, A. D., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 252. 

Patrick, Hen^y, of New London, 381. 

"Patrick Henry," boat, 384 note. 

Patterson, F. W., 273. 

Payne, Sereno E., bill in Congress 
tor canal appropriation, 133. 

Peabody, T. N., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 252. 

Peacock, William, surveyor, 346. 

Pearl street. Buffalo, 242. 

Pease, Tohn, original member of Buf- 
falo Board of Trade, 252. 

Pease, Sheldon, & Co., 274. 



Peck, Wilbur S., vice-president of 
Buffalo convention, 23. 

reck, William K., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 252. 

Peckham, B. P., boat master, 384 

Peckham, Cyrus, of New London, 381. 

Pendleton, N. Y., 384 rote, 393. 

Pennsylvania, growth in population, 
lot; iron and steel industry, 102, 
freight discriminations, 145; canal 
development, 256. 

Pennsylvania canal, 256. 

Pennsylvania Railroad, improvements, 

Perrin, Greuville, of New York Prod- 
uce Exchange, 84. 

Perrine, Henry £., subscription to 
100th Regiment fund, 27:, 274. 

Perry, George T., boat master, 3S3 

Perry, Commodore Oliver H., 393. 

Persons, Henry H., of Buffalo, 171. 

Peters, Theodore C, original member 
of Buffalo Board of Trade, 252. 

Petrie, William, 381. 

Petrie, Win., & Co., contribution to 
100th Regiment fund, 273; canal 
shippers, 383. 

Pettit, Silas W., attorney for Trades 
League of Philadelphia^, 90- 

Pfarrius, E., of New York Produce 
Exchange, 84, 86. 

Philadelphia, freight rates to, 77, 81- 
83, 85, 87; commercial rival of 
New York, 371. 

Philadelphia Board of Trade, organ- 
ized, 254. 

Philadelphia Commercial Museums, 

Philadelphia Record, cited, 145. 

Phoenix, N. Y., boat-building, 382. 

Pierce, Henry J., 326; president of 
Buffalo Chamber of Commerce, 329. 

Pierce, Horace G., speaks at Buffalo 
convention, 28. 

"Pilot Line" of canal boats, 378. 

Pinney, Austin, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 252. 

Pittsburgh, Pa., commercial position, 
181 6, 218; Board of Trade organ- 
ized, 254. 

Pixley, Henry D., vice-president of 
Buffalo convention, 23. 

Piatt, John L, speaks at Utica con- 
vention, 9, 162; opposes referen- 
dum bill of 1902, 170; opposes ca- 
nal improvement plank in Republi- 
can platform, 173^ at canal hear- 
ing, 175; quotes Gov. Odell as op- 
posed to canal legislation, 175; at 
anti-canal state convention, 177. 

Flatt, Jonas, state senator, 334; con- 
nection with early canal legislation, 

Piatt, Thomas C, 179. 
Plimpton, L. K., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 252; in- 
corporator, 264; subscription to 
:00th Regiment fund, 273; on re- 
cruiting committee, 275. 

Pond, Ashley, attorney for Michigan 

Central R. R. Co., 90. 
Port Morris, 7. 
Porter, Augustus, of Niagara Falls, 

Porter, Peter B., of Black Rock, 377. 

Porter, Barton & Co., 377"378. 

"Portland," boat, 384 note. 

Potter, Heman B., member of Buf- 
falo Harbor Company, 241. 

Potter, Orlando B., chairman execu- 
tive committee of Canal Improve- 
ment Union, 2. 

Poughkeepsie Board of Trade, 9, 14. 

Pratt, Hiram, 378, 3Q3- 

Pratt, Lucius H., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 252. 

Pratt, Pascal P., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 232; trus- 
tee of Merchants' Exchange, 289; 
at opening of new building, 290. 

Pratt. Samuel II., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trace, 252. 

Pratt & Meech, 378; convey guns 
and ordnance from Erie to Buffalo, 


Pratt Bros., 382. 

Pratt's Landing,, 3S2. 

Prescott, William, original member of 

Bufialo Board of Trade, 252. 
Presque Isle (Erie), Pa., naval depot, 

Press of New York in the canal cam- 
paign, 187-193. 
Prime slip, 24s, 254, 255. 
Prime street, Buffalo, 239, 240, 242; 

site of first "Merchants' Exchange," 

Pritchard, Emilio, 107 note. 
Prosser, E. S., subscription to rootfc 

Regiment fund, 273; on recruiting 

committee, 275. 
Pu Lun, Prince, guest of Buffalo 

Merchants' Exchange, 324. 
Purdy, Lawson, speaks at Buffalo con- 
vention, 2S. 
Purdy, Samuel, commission merchant, 

243; original member of Buffalo 

Board of Trade, 252. 
Putnam, George L., member of finance 

committee of Canal Association of 

Greater New York, 47. 
Putnam co., N. Y., loss of population, 

100; vote on barge canal question, 


Queens co., N. Y., vote on barge ca- 
nal question, 116, 193. 

Quinby, Franklin, on executive com- 
mittee for banquet to Gov. Roose- 
velt, 43: on finance and sub-execu- 
tive committees of Canal Associa- 
tion of Greater New York. 47; on 
committee to confer with Joint 
Traffic Association, 8a. 86; on" Ca- 
nal committee of Produce Exchange, 
93, 107 note; at Albany meeting, 
1901, 167. 

Rafter, George W 
convention, 28. 

speaks at Buffalo 



Railroads, competition with canals, 36, 
37, 141; improvements since 1860, 
66; differential rales, 77-93- 

Raincy, Hamilton, original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 252; in- 
corporator, 264. 

ftamsberger', Samuel J., supports ref- 
erendum bill of 1902, 171. 

Rannev. O. W., original member of 
Buffalo Board of Trade, 252; mem- 
ber of committee for improving St. 
Clair Flats, 260. 

Raymond, George PL, of Buffalo, 
member of State committee, Syra- 
cuse convention, 17; Buffalo con- 
vention, 23, 169; delegate to cana! 
conference, New York, 50; secre- 
tary of Canal Improvement State 
Committee, 102; congratulatory mes- 
sage to H. B. Hebert. 105; "New 
York State Canals from 1895 to 
1903," 157-180; plan for canal en- 
largement, 158-159; at canal hear- 
ing, 1898, 160; 1899, 161; dele- 
gate to Utica convention, makes ad- 
dress, member of canal committee, 
162; assists in_ struggle for barge 
canal survey bill, 163; speaks at 
Syracuse convention, 164; member 
cf canal committee of Buffalo Mer- 
chants' Exchange, 164, 166, 182; of 
committee to solicit funds, 165; 
speaks befo-e various boards of 
trade, 165-166; at Albany meeting, 
1901, 166; delegate to Syracuse 
convention, 1901, on committee to 
confer with Gov. Odell, 167; speaks 
at hearing on 450-ton canal, :68; 
visits New York, calls on Gov. 
Odell, 169, 170; supports referen- 
dum bill of 1902, 170; on commit- 
tee to solicit support of Gov. Odell, 
171; at Buffalo conference, 172, 
174; delegate to Albany confer- 
ence, to Republican state conven- 
tion, 172, 173; on committee to 
meet Gov. Odell, 174; at Albany 
conference, at canal hearings, 175, 
176; secretary of Canal Improve- 
ment State committee, 176; canal 
champion, 178. 

Real Estate Exchange, New York, 42, 

"Red Rover," boat, 3S3 note. 

Redhead, E. R., of Fulton, vice-presi- 
dent of Syracuse convention, 17; 
of Buffalo convention, 22; calls on 
Gov. Odell, 169. 

Reed, Isaac H., 79. 

Rensselaer co., N. Y., loss of popu- 
lation, 100; vote on barge canal 
question, 193. 

Republican Party, platform calling for 
canal enlargement, 56; state con- 
vention, 1902, 172, 173. 

Retail Lumber Dealers' Association of 
the State of New York, 13. 

Reynolds, H. S., of Poughkeepsie, 
member of State committee, Syra- 
cuse conv